Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Schools, Taxes and Rural Development

Mrs. Loveland and Mr. Freemond are both correct, however Mr Freemond did not go far enough. The residential development does not add "nothing". It adds all kinds of problems and costs.

What it does add is school crowding, higher taxes to pay for the increased number of students brought into the district, a reduction in the rural character of the County and the reduction in the quality of education in the County.

The misuse of school funding will eventually require higher taxes to fund the increased cost of education and higher administration costs. Also, more taxes will be added to build more facilities to serve the additional students provided by the residential development. The current increases in education costs, as pointed out by Mrs. Loveland previously are not adding any significant increase in student capacity.

The push to develop agricultural land into high density will add to that tax burden, as Dearborn County residents subsidize the newcomers. Each new student will require much more in costs than can ever be provided by the taxes paid by each new residence.

Our neighbors to the east are wanting to take advantage of our current lower taxes and quality educational facilities; but, they will bring with them the very problems they are fleeing.

These discussions on education do not include all the other cost increases the developers foist off on the County, such as, roads, fire and EMT personnel and equipment, government administration costs, the impact of sewage, the impact of storm water run off, etc. It also does not include the increased cost of utilities to upgrade their systems, that the utility companies will pass through to all their users not just the new users driving that increase.

These are part of the overall problem.

Mr. Freemond is absolutely correct in indicating the need for industry (not commercial) additions to the County. Industry will help with the taxes, since they require less in service costs than they pay in taxes (just like agricultural). Industry also provides the added benefit of adding income producing employment in the County.

The key to resolving these issues, is to put pressure on the elected officials of the school boards and on our County Commissioners, to make them responsible for their actions and, if they don't change or resolve the problem, to vote them out of office. Our County Commissioners have continued to support and enable the developers, not the best interests of the citizens of the County.

Otherwise, the developers will continue to get rich and the school board administration will benefit with high salaries and more facilities to control at the expense of the citizens of this County.

Ralph E. Thompson, Jr., PE, CPE, NSPE
A citizen of Dearborn County

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