Billings City Council Proposes Another Expensive Tax Levy
Here we go again. Last night, the Billings City Council introduced a possible new tax levy that could be presented to voters on the November ballot. This levy would help raise money to hire more police officers and firefighters. And it's not gonna be cheap.
As it stands now, the levy would go into place in 2015. It would add $31 per year in property taxes for homes valued at $200,000. Here's where it gets scary: those fees would rise to $325 per year on a $200,000 home by the year 2024. Keep in mind, by 2024, most homes will probably be worth more than $200,000.
Now, it gets even more frightening. This levy would run in perpetuity. Which means FOREVER. There would be no end in sight to the increased burden on homeowners.
What will we get for our money? The city estimates the added revenue will fund 27 new jobs; 13 policemen, 6 firefighters, 5 emergency personnel and several administrative positions. Both the Police Chief and the Fire Chief say the levy is needed due to "increased demand for services".
Mark and Paul have been ardent supporters of our local policeman and firefighters for years. These brave men and women risk their lives every day to protect our community. And they don't get rich doing it.
However, these tax levys have to stop. First, it was the baseball field, then the library, then school improvements, now the police and fire departments want their share. When will it end?
Paul has a couple of solutions:
1. Recruit a volunteer fire department to work alongside the city fire crews. Paul's cousin is the Fire Chief in Cincinnati, Ohio, and they have implemented a similar program to help improve their resources and cut costs.
2. Instead of making the homeowners pick up the tab, why don't we increase the fees for people who commit crimes? Double every fine. A first time DUI offender currently pays a $758 fine. Hell, go ahead and triple that. Make it $2,500 for a DUI. These people are the reason we need more cops on the street, make them pay for it.