cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
News reports indicate that Village President Tom Kempinski is considering asking the Board to approve a referendum that would appear on either the September ballot or the November ballot. This referendum would deal with just how Germantown voters desire to fund some $2,000,000 per year in road repairs, if they desire to do so. The choices apparently would be borrowing, increasing property taxes or a combination of both or none.
The referendum could be advisory or binding in nature. Obviously, if advisory, the Board would then decide what, if any action it would take, but it would do so with some idea of the public's mood. If binding, the results would stand as the electorate decided at least until the Board was reconstituted or until the Board found some other approach to achieve the end if that were possible.
If property taxes were increased by $2,000,000 annually, the increase in village taxes over 2008 would be some 20.5% without consideration for any other line item increases in the village budget. It is unrealistic to assume that all other expenses will remain constant. If the amount were to be borrowed, the debt service would be part of the tax increase each year so that both the amount spent each year plus interest would be added to the tax bills over a number of years.
The village's portion of our total tax bill in 2008 was 24.52%; that share would climb to 30.67% if all other taxing units remained at 2008 levels which, unfortunately, is very unlikely. The actual increase in total property taxes due to the village's portion of the total could be something in the range of 1% to 2% I would suspect.
Use of a referendum will please some people and anger others. Some will say that this gives the voter the direct voice on specific items that they otherwise lack in representative government. Others will say the referendum gives the Board a place to hide; still others will say that there should be no referendum.
There are several questions that come to mind about which you may wish to make your views known:
1. Do we need $2 million worth of road repair every year? For how many years?
2. What portion of the village's road surfaces need to be repaired today?
3. Have past Boards avoided their responsibilities and not funded road repairs properly?
4. Is a referendum a good idea or is it a convenient tool for a Board that doesn't wish to stake out a position that may be very unpopular?
5. If this referendum appears on the ballot, what impact will that have on any issue the School Board may advance at the same time?
6. If we are to see a referendum, should it be simply an advisory referendum or should it bind the Board to a specific direction?
What think you G'town?