I was disappointed the Harrisonville Board of Aldermen voted to increase the tax levy Aug. 20. A few months ago the board energetically restored the budget for the police station using unspent dollars from last year’s budget. Were they unaware then of decreasing assessments and property tax revenues?
The city administrator said the total cost of the police station as planned could be $200,000 more than expected. He said there was money in reserves to cover the cost and some changes could be made but the board would have to decide whether or not they wanted to use reserves. Something tells me using the reserves to put the decorative touches on the police station will be fine with them despite the fact that using them to save tax payers from this levy increase was not.
The board approved this tax increase because they could. State law allows them to increase the levy without the consent of the voters in order to recover the revenue lost from falling. They could increase the levy now so that anyone moving to town and anyone purchasing a new car or more expensive home will have to pay at the higher rate (along with anyone whose future assessment goes up). It wasn’t about making up a few thousand dollars next year but collecting many thousands of dollars from taxpayers in the years to come. It’s disturbing that City Hall was looking for a way to slip a tax increase by the people they serve without putting it to a vote. While the increase may be slight for those who haven’t moved, it will be felt by businesses and anyone looking to move up. I wouldn’t be surprised if it instead encourages people to move out. In addition to being a fishy way to suck money from families today it has the potential to discourage the very growth it intends to take advantage of in the future.
More discouraging are the comments from the board that no one had contacted them. Your aldermen and mayor need to hear from people. I am confident they will listen. Most of your aldermen live within blocks of your house. Many of my neighbors echoed my complaints on the street but until they call, go to the polls, and voice their opinion the board will act with only the recommendations of city employees and administrators and without any input from the people they represent.