Many Marysville city leaders are proud that they haven’t raised property taxes since 2010. Any hike was caused by increases in the value of your property or by some other taxing entity.
While that certainly is commendable – especially in a time when most governments have no problem taking more money – there is another way to look at this.
City Finance Director Sandy Langdon’s figures show taxpayers saved a total of anywhere from $88,751 in 2010 to $414,219 last year because the city didn’t take its 1 percent tax increase allowed by law. The total saved by taxpayers over those eight years is a little more than $1.6 million.
While citizens appreciate that money in our pockets, it really amounts to a small savings for the 68,000 or more people who live here.
Let’s say there’s an average of four people per household for example.
That would amount to a savings of about $135 a year for each property taxpayer. We would have gladly contributed less than $3 a week more so the city could have $1,608,653 more right now.
Think of the needs of the city when it comes to its waterfront development, public safety building, civic campus, transportation projects, etc.
Some of those projects are in jeopardy right now because of construction costs.
The city has received tons of grant money from the federal and state governments for projects. But because the economy is doing so well, construction companies are charging a lot more for work. The money received is not equal to what the costs are now. So the city is short and could use those “banked” taxes to help.
When a city doesn’t take it’s 1 percent tax increase allowed by law, they can bank it – providing a security blanket for the future.
Taking the 1 percent does not require a vote. The state figures that’s a reasonable to take considering increased costs each year.
It made sense during the recession for Marysville not to take the 1 percent because people were short of money. Even if the city needed it, it was the right thing to do. People had to tighten up their financial belts, so the city should, too.
But the economy has been doing well for years now. The city had increased revenue thanks to development so it didn’t think it needed the 1 percent.
But development comes with cost. Traffic keeps getting worse. Maybe some of that lost tax money could have been used to help that situation.
The city kept having a tight budget so departments did not get things on their “wish list” that could have helped them in their day-to-day work.
If you have money now, you can do things now. If you wait, prices will go up.
And that’s what’s happening now. It looks like the city should have taken that money to save it for times like now.
Arlington, on the other hand, has been taking its 1 percent. Since 2011, that has brought in $211,394, including $40,473 in 2017.
Again, not a huge amount of money for taxpayers. But we’re sure that the city is glad it has that money in case it needs it.
Marysville should consider taking the 1 percent in the future, and we know some members of the City Council agree with that.