As the levy vote approaches many folks are contemplating on how they will vote. I would like to share with you my research and the how it impacted my personal decision.
The levy amount this year will be $3.58 per 1000. Everyone receives an "exemption" of 1/2 of their market value up to a maximum of $100,000. However, calculating what that means to you may be confusing, so I will give a few approximate examples of that info below.
On your property tax statement you will see the following lines:
This example is for a home valued higher than $200K
MARKET VALUE: $350,000
NET MARKET: $250,000
You calculate $250 x $3.58= $895
This example is for homes less than $200K
MARKET VALUE: $170,000
HOMEOWNER: $85,000 (one half of market value to a max exemption of $100K)
NET MARKET: $85,000
You calculate $85 x $3.58= $304.30
The increase in the levy this year is $0.50 per thousand, so to calculate what this increase looks likes for each of the above examples showing the additional cost to you above last year's levy.
250 x 0.50= $125
85 x 0.50= $42.50
Each of us needs to evaluate what the levy failure would mean to us personally. I no longer have kids in school or grandchildren that live here, however I do understand the impact to me if the quality of the school system is reduced.
We all rely on the goods and services that we are able to obtain within our little community. A very high percentage of the work force providing those services have school age children. I looked at many examples of what it would cost me in not just additional dollars, but also my time if I was no longer able to obtain these services locally. Some of the key areas that I found were these:
Plumber- this service is already in high demand with limited availability, especially if you have an emergency. The "travel" cost to have someone come from Orofino/Lewiston is approx. $100. That fee is on top of your bill just to have them drive here. You will find that this applies to heat/air services, electricians, Mechanics etc.
Doctor/Dentist/Vet- it is not an easy issue of just going to another provider. These folks can only handle so many patients. If you have to travel to Cottonwood (if you can get a provider there) Lewiston/Clarkston/Moscow, the expenses can really start to add up. Fuel, food, possibly overnight accommodations, your time, and in inclement weather your safety. Let's not forget all of the volunteer EMTs and Firefighters who may not be available anymore. Add in folks who work in grocery stores, lawn care, cafes, etc.
My list goes on and on. I was easily able to account for the $875 levy cost on my home and the $375 levy cost on my commercial building.
Now if you’re thinking that you would just move to a location that you could once again conveniently obtain everything you needed to live a comfortable life. Please speak with a realtor about what happens to property values in an area that has a poor school system. In addition, look into what the purchase price and property taxes would be on a property comparable to what you currently own located elsewhere.
Just some thoughts to ponder. I have never much liked the thought process of "Do it for the kids". I have resolved to cast a yes vote on the levy with the thought process of "Do it for yourself"