As of Tuesday, July 31, 2018
The White Bird City Council’s amended 2018 budget and proposed 2019 budget contain substantial increases in general fund expenditures. The general fund consists of local property tax revenue plus state sales, liquor, and road revenues of about $15,000. The general funds can be used for public safety, public parks, public roads, etc. The increases in fire dept spending are a proper use of these taxpayer funds.
It appears that about $70,000 of taxpayer funds (about $1000 average per household) is being misappropriated to subsidize the water and sewer funds which are required to be separate from the general fund. Due to decades of over taxation, the general fund had accumulated a substantial surplus. In FY 2017 and 2018, I cut the property tax levy by 33 percent to start returning the surplus to the taxpayers. Now, the city council just wants to take that money away from you with no increase in taxable services.
Nearly every small town in rural America has an economic/political establishment that does not want to see positive change. They don’t want to compete for employees, customers or political power. Over taxation is an intentional and strategic means of holding down property values by punishing anyone who wants to spruce up their property or to start, buy or expand a business.
The City of White Bird needs to act responsibly with the taxpayers’ money. Our city taxes are among the highest in the county due to the effect of increasing levy authority coupled with a declining economic base. We pay nearly as much for city taxes as for the county, schools, hospital, etc, combined. We should be cutting taxes by another 50 percent until we see some economic growth.
We could create a robust “destination retail” economy combining our recreational, historical and scenic tourism with multiple antique/boutique stores, multiple restaurants and B&Bs. Visitors would come here to have fun for the weekend and then take their memories home and leave their money behind. If you care about the future of White Bird, please attend the budget hearing at 4 p.m. on Aug. 8th and be heard.
Former White Bird City Council member