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Jim Tait Real Estate

home : letters : letters May 2, 2016

10/9/2012 10:04:00 AM
Taxed enough already

To the Editor:

Three years ago the taxpayers of Boulder Junction overwhelmingly voted “no” to spend millions of dollars on a new library and community center.  

The vote was 75 in favor and 192 against a new building. 

Well, here we go again.

In September 2011, in an “advisory” vote, only 61 taxpayers voted yes for the same idea. This represents only 7 percent of the voters in Boulder Junction. There is clearly less support for this type of deficit spending project than three years ago. The town board then authorized more money spent on the same idea.

Do you really want 7 percent of the voters raising your taxes over 20 percent for the next 20 years? I do not.  

This is an increase on top of what you already pay.

The costs presented so far do not accurately represent the total costs. It only represents the cost of the $2.3 million building. It does not include additional tax dollars needed to pay for increased maintenance and operating costs, preventive maintenance costs or new furniture for the library and community center. It also does not include the “regular” tax increases we have every year for existing services and debt.

On the 2012 tax bill, there was a 9.4 percent increase in Boulder Junction taxes that was used to pay debt and not provide additional services. In a recent Lakeland Times article, it was reported over two-thirds of the municipalities in Wisconsin held to tax increases of less than 1 percent or did not raise taxes at all.

More deficit spending for Boulder Junction to satisfy a small group will not bring more tourists, increase property values or help local business grow when they are forced to raise prices.

Unfortunately, property values continue to decline. As you may know, when property values decline, taxes by way of the mill rate are increased to generate the same amount of tax dollars needed for government services.

Eagle River is building a new $3.2 million library without taxpayer dollars. Mercer has raised several hundred thousand dollars before starting their project.  But not in Boulder Junction, even though the consultant the town board hired advised we could raise as much as $500,000.

The town board of Boulder Junction has already spent more than $70,000 toward this project and some of that amount is being carried by the town as debt. That money would have been better spent on other priorities. By the lack of community support shown, it is clear this is not the right priority.

If you believe you pay enough in taxes, vote no at the meeting Thursday, Oct. 11.

We are taxed enough already.  

Ken Ehle
Boulder Junction

Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Article comment by: Jack I

Mr. Jurkowski,

Although I am sure it is frustrating to have your hefty tax bill spent without your having voted on how, you are not a resident of Boulder Junction, yet. When it becomes your permanent home, you will be allowed to vote like any other resident--land owner or not. The fact remains though that, at current, you are a citizen of some municipality that is not Boulder Junction. If those with the means to own land were given the right to vote on spending in every municipality in which they owned land, those without those means would lose their equal footing as citizens of the municipality. This could, and likely would, lead to non-property owners being, in effect, lesser citizens that lack the upward mobility characteristic of American society. Moreover, it is easy to see how if those who did not reside in a municipality were allowed to vote on spending, certain essential government functions might become lacking. The library is a good example actually, why would someone who didn't live there vote for a library? They won't use it. A more important service might be emergency response subsidies. Someone who doesn't live in the municipality isn't likely to care what the ambulance response time is.

I am sure that you feel like a member of the Boulder Junction community, and I would bet you are in fact a member of it. Unfortunately though, our rules and laws must aim to reflect systemic fairness. That being the case, we can only vote on things where we actually live.

I know it may be frustrating not to have a vote in the process by which your property tax funds are spent, I would point out though that you are just as welcome as anyone else at town board meetings, where these matters are also discussed.

I hope this explanation is sufficient.

Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Article comment by: Michael Jurkowski

Here is another question:
My wife and I already pay property taxes to Boulder Junction. We have for serveral years. We just built a new home which will become our new permanent home within a couple years. We are faced with a much larger tax bill now on the new home.
The problem I have is what is an "elector" and why are we not considered an "elector" and eligible to vote on how the taxes we pay to Boulder Junction are spent?
Someone needs to explaing this to me and many others like me who pay taxes in Boulder Junction but are not allowed a say in how those tax funds are spent.

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