Center Grove area can’t support proposed town
To the editor:
In a recent weekend edition of the Daily Journal, two front-page articles clearly illustrate why Center Grove should not become a town.
The article “Who would pay?” provided the following information:
Center Grove area residents would have to pay almost the entire newly proposed $6.3 million budget for the proposed new town government.
In addition, they would bear most of the costs for future projects.
Ninety-six percent of the taxable value of property in unincorporated White River Township is from housing.
Matthew Greller, Association of Cities and Towns executive director and chief executive officer, described the financial issues for homeowners in the potentially impacted area. Excerpts from Mr. Geller’s comments include:
“A diversified tax base is extremely important to a city or town, because you don’t want to rely only on one stream of revenue.”
“Residential assessed value does not generate enough tax revenue to support modern services.”
“Without diversification, where it’s relying almost exclusively on residential assessed value, you’d have an extremely high property tax rate to sustain services.”
“The residents pay an exorbitant share of what it costs to run without a diversified tax base.”
“Anyone who thinks incorporating will create these amenities overnight is mistaken, because it would take strong long-term planning and a diversification of the tax base. The town is not going to provide those services for the community’s quality of life tomorrow, and you’d get that over a long period of time.”
Project initiators produced a budget which was grossly underfunded and has since been revised; however, the budget continues to have neither long-range planning nor a five-year plan.
We know the existing infrastructure has problems. Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers previously stated a study of the infrastructure in the proposed area was conducted and the results were not good.
To repair and or update the infrastructure results in multimillion-dollar projects which remain unfunded in the newly increased proposed budget for the new town. This inaction artificially lowers the projected property tax increases for the proposed town government.
In addition to higher taxes and possible increased fees to support the proposed town, Annie Goeller, Daily Journal staff writer, wrote an article regarding changes expected in area property values.
It was reported 49 percent of county homeowners will see an increase in their home or land value from the recently completed county reassessment. Checking the website provided and conferring with neighbors, it was determined many of us in the potentially impacted area are facing double-digit percent increases to our property values.
Consequently, some residents’ property taxes would increase from both the reassessment and those to support a new town government.
In recent weeks, the Daily Journal has published several articles detailing economic challenges faced by many within the enter Grove area.
In 2011, 19 percent of the Center Grove families were receiving reduced-price lunch and or book rental.
A stark increase in textbook/technology fees in 2012 compared to those of 2010.
Center Grove High School students help sustain a food pantry directly behind the high school; other Johnson County pantries are also encountering increased need.
Given the general state of the economy, continued high unemployment, a rising cost of living, an announced property tax reassessment and a lack of diversified tax revenues to support a new town government, saddling residents within the proposed area with yet even higher property taxes is both unjust and wrong.
Gary C. Gresham