By Henry Twombly
October 16, 2012
October 16, 2012
Did you know that our tax rates rose significantly for next year: 15% on property; 16% for the Sedona Fire District; and 28% for the Sedona-Oak Creek School (SOCSD) – not to mention a variety of county tax increases ranging from 14-20%? The County Board just rubber stamped all the tax hikes requested by these entities. (You may have missed this news because the [local news paper] placed the article in the back of the second section on the Friday before Labor Day. A seemingly deliberate decision to hide what should have been front page news.)
So I’m not too happy about the School District placing a Budget Override on the ballot to tax us another 15% on top of the 28% increase, especially since it won’t improve the quality of education. They used this ploy in 2007 to pass the $73 million bond for capital projects. Among other boondoggles, that bonanza for construction companies created an unnecessary/second auditorium with 750 seats for only 500 students. None of that money went towards books or teachers’ salaries; and none of this override money will either. It’s to pay for the maintenance and operations budget. If the budget override doesn’t pass, SOCSD claims it will have to reduce its budget by $750,000, even though – according to the ballot information- the override increase would only provide $431,891 in revenues. So why mislead us with the numbers?
Though SOCSD paints a dire yet questionable picture of an override defeat, I think such a defeat would force the SOCSD to be more fiscally responsible and have a minimal effect on the quality of education. Alas, my fellow taxpayers, we have a choice. If we want more taxes, vote Yes. If we want less taxes, vote No on the budget override. Either way it won’t affect the quality of education; it will only affect our pocketbooks.