To the editor:
In response to Mr. Bill Reisa’s letter on Aug. 27, “Center Grove controls by being a town destiny.”
I first say, from a two-tour Vietnam veteran, thank you for your service to America.
The passion on both sides of the issue is strong; however, I cannot imagine any of those supporting or opposed to Center Grove becoming a town wanting a truck stop at Smith Valley and Interstate 69 or commercial or industrial enterprises in their backyards.
As one who is adamantly opposed to the initiative, I do not consider my opposition as surrendering. No sir: it is a valiant effort shared by many to prevent an initiative that will increase our property taxes while leading us blindly down a path of decreased service, implementation of user fees and spiraling costs to support a town clandestinely and ill-conceived.
The tyranny is being perpetrated by the initiators through deceit, omission and misrepresentation.
Consider the following:
Composed of estimates from estimates
Underfunded, later adjusted upward to sway the Johnson County Commissioners and appease those opposing the initiative for the lack of prudent financial planning.
A presenter during one public meeting noted a line item was purposely set below a recommended threshold to keep the budget low. This alone should create grave concern about every other line item being artificially low.
A complete lack of long-range planning for the town or its ailing infrastructure.
To date, no public disclosure of what is included in the budget.
The one public meeting:
Skillfully and purposely conducted to promote only their myopic view of initiative benefits.
An effort to deceive attendees by providing an example of property tax increases on a home well below the average value of the community — all the while withholding information that the property tax example increase was after all exemptions had been taken. This was conveyed only after several attendees could not balance the example by the model formula provided.
Insufficient meeting time to answer all questions in a public forum.
The financial impact:
Center Grove area residents would pay almost the entire newly proposed $6.3 million budget for the proposed new town government.
Ninety-six percent of the taxable value of property in the unincorporated White River Township is from housing.
It is fiscally irresponsible for a town to rely on one stream of revenue.
Residential assessed value will not generate enough tax revenue to support services.
Without a diversified tax base where businesses pay a higher proportion of the needed tax revenue to support a town, extremely high property taxes are required to sustain services.
As proposed, the town will not be able to provide quality of life services for tomorrow’s community. It may come over time through greatly increased property taxes, newly assessed user fees and or development of substantial new businesses.
As is, residents will pay an exorbitant proportion of what it costs to run the proposed town.
At this juncture, the actual costs for the town government or the increase to property taxes to support the town are unknown.
We know that whatever the costs the greatest portion will be paid by homeowners and we can logically assume our taxes will dramatically spiral upward over the next few years because of the lack of long-term planning.
Unfortunately, what we do not know is what we don’t know. However, from the actions taken thus far by the initiators of the initiative, we need to have serious concerns about the initiative and the negative impact it will bring.
Gary C. Gresham