No Tax Increase - The Missourian: Editorials

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No Tax Increase

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Posted: Saturday, August 2, 2014 6:30 pm

One of the misleading statements being made in the annexation election campaign is that taxes will be raised for citizens of Washington if annexation is approved. That simply is not true.

The city has no plans to raise taxes if the annexation plan is approved. That’s a fact.

Scare tactics are being used in trying to tell citizens of Washington that their taxes will be increased.

The city of Washington’s annexation plan before voters Tuesday is minor compared to most annexation proposals by municipalities. Often the land proposed for annexation is much larger — sometimes a thousand or more acres. Tuesday’s proposal consists of 460 acres!

The city can handle extension of services to the 460 acres with no tax increase. It has the resources to do so.

The tiresome argument by people living in a tract proposed for annexation is that, “I have adequate services now — why be in the city?” What they have now does not compare to what people have in the city limits. For instance, to the south, Meadowlake subdivision is served with 2-inch water lines, while in the city the water lines run from 6 to 8 inches (in subdivisions), which provide for adequate flows for fire protection.

One reason Washington has an excellent insurance rating is because of its water system. That plus an outstanding fire department, which is considered one of the best in the state because of its leadership, trained volunteers, latest equipment and water supply. Those residents who would be annexed should receive a decrease in their insurance.

Residents of the city pay less for water and trash pickup than most nonresidents. Washington has excellent sewer lines and a treatment plant. Sewage treatment is going to be a problem for nearby nonresidents. Streets are maintained and there is good snow removal in Washington. Nearby nonresidents pay for snow removal and are charged for street maintenance. It must be remembered that when it comes to property taxes, about 75 percent goes to our public schools.

Law enforcement from the city would benefit the nearby nonresidents. The response time would be much faster. The unincorporated areas of the county are served by the sheriff’s department, which has a large area to cover. The sheriff’s department does the best possible with the resources it has, but its response time is not as quick as the city can respond with officers.

Another statement heard is that annexation would harm farmers. That’s ridiculous. Agriculture is permitted under the zoning code. The farmland in this proposal is so minor that it’s a foolish argument against annexation.

In the short and long haul, the residents in the areas proposed for annexation would be the winners in this annexation plan. We hope people will consider the facts and not be swayed by a few who are behind the falsehoods. The facts, the benefits favor annexation!

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