Letter: Taxpayers not informed on all referendum information

November 2, 2018

Editor, Daily Times:

As we approach Election Day when Watertown residents will be voting on a referendum to allow the Watertown Unified School District to spend $16.5 million in excess of the revenue limits over the next five years. We have been told that due to retiring some debt and the return of property to the tax base from a TIF district, if we vote yes to the referendum, the tax rate for the school portion of a resident’s property taxes will remain at $8.98 per $1,000 of market value for the next five years.

What several residents have been asking me, as well as Mr. Ziwisky had asked in this column on Monday, is how much will our taxes decrease if the referendum does not pass? I was unable to attend the session at the high school on Monday but I understand this question was asked at that forum but was not answered. Also, I noticed that in the “Election” column in the Tuesday Daily Times the issue of that question being asked but not answered at the forum was not mentioned.

Another item for voters to be aware of, is if you have been watching how real estate prices have rapidly been escalating, you can expect a new assessment to take place in Watertown soon. Your tax rate for the school may stay at $8.98 per $1,000, but if the value of your home increases, you will be paying that $8.98 per $1,000 on the new valuation of your home, not the current valuation.

What also troubles me is that this appears to be an approach for the next five years only and we could likely be right back to square one in five years. While I also expect Watertown to grow, expenses will also grow. I think we need to structure our operations to deal with our current enrollments.

I just do not feel that the taxpayers have been informed with all of the information they deserve in order to make a decision on this referendum.

Bill Maron