Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Swimming pool represents another burden on property owners

| November 1, 2005 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

It's nice to see that Libby may finally be getting the pool and aquatic center that it's wanted for so long. Even 20 years ago, when there was talk of the possibility of a pool, I thought the idea was great!

However, just as then, this multimillion-dollar project will again be funded by the local property owners, specifically those living within the Libby Park District. As indicated, the combined bond and maintenance levy would add another $153 per year for a home valued at $100,000.

Well, how many of our $50,000 homes are now in the $200,000 range, and going up? This could effectively raise our yearly burden by over $300. Spread that out over the 20-year life of the bond and we're looking at $6,120. That figure only accounts for the anticipated pool-related costs and does not include any property taxes that we're currently paying, or will pay. This all proceeds on the presumption that our homes will remain at their current appraised values for the next 20 years, and that no other levies, or taxes will be assessed. I wouldn't bank on that happening! We'll continue to get nailed again and again!

Someone previously wrote a letter to the editor stating that this will only cost the price of a lunch or two. Seems more like the price of a decent car. At least with a lunch, I have a choice. If the levy passes, the option will be to either pay or forfeit my property and my dream. By the way, I don't believe that the majority of us hang around the bars or casinos as inferred by another writer. Should that even be an issue?

As we all know Libby's real estate market has skyrocketed in the past few years, coupled with a similar rise in the appraised values of our homes. I only wish that my income had stayed in step with this grossly inflated rate. Those of us that have been here for any length of time could soon be taxed off of our properties and out of our homes. This is rapidly getting out of control and it's time to put an end to it. This state needs another source of revenue, and soon.

Maybe it's time to introduce a bill similar to California's Proposition 13, which capped the property tax increases, and assessments, at a figure between 1 percent and 2 percent per year. No re-appraisals, or increases, unless the property is sold or transferred. Dare I suggest that property taxes actually be lowered?

Montana property owners need relief and should not be continually singled out and penalized simply because they own their homes, or are paying on one. Montana seriously needs to start looking for that alternate revenue source. A tax in which everyone can contribute, including our millions of annual visitors. Incidentally, the states named in Roger Morris' 10/26/05 editorial have a sales tax, and several million more property owners, from which they can draw.

When this state finally sees the light and makes some serious changes, maybe then we can truly afford this aquatic center. I still think that the pool is a great idea, but it should no longer be the responsibility of the few, overburdened, property owners to have to carry the load. Perhaps ballots should have been sent solely to the property owners since they're the ones that will have to pay for it.

This current system is bleeding us dry, and I for one, am fed up with having to foot the bill for each, and every new project that comes along, since options are available.

Dave Holzer