Waynesboro: Living, breathing definition of penny wise, pound foolish
It’s time to fight fire with fire.
Legacy City Council member Lana Williams this week introduced an ordinance that would set the property tax rate for 2021 at 83 cents per $100 assessed value, down from the current 90-cent rate.
This rate from Williams, who somehow got elected to City Council last year, would purportedly “equalize” the tax rate from recent property reassessments that add value to properties across the city.
To buttress the case for this “equalization,” the conservatives orchestrated the usual suspects from among the mouthbreathers to speak at this week’s City Council meeting about how the city needs to learn to live within its means and other such detritus.
Here’s the reality of the city learning to live within its means: the city loses $2.7 million in revenues to this bogus “equalization” effort, the bulk of which would have to come out of the budget for the city school system and scrapping the 3 percent pay increase for city employees.
So, our already underfunded and dramatically underperforming school system gets less.
We lose teachers, many of whom are working second jobs to make ends meet, to neighboring localities who actually value what they do to teach their kids, or they leave the profession altogether.
And our other city employees: the bulk of any local government budget is salaries and benefits.
Grand idea, there, to balance the budget on the backs of our police, firefighters, the public works folks who maintain the little things like our water, sewers, pick up our trash each week.
Screw them, right? They need to learn to live within their means.
All so that, and here’s the kicker, because I ran the math on a few different levels of impact from this tax-rate decrease.
My home, on Chatham Road, Country Club neighborhood, we bought in 2020 for $325,000.
At a 90-cent tax rate, I pay $2,925 a year in property taxes; at an 83-cent tax rate, I pay $2,698.50.
I save $227.50.
That’s an extra $18.96 a month in my pocket there.
The average home value in Waynesboro, according to Zillow, is $201,106.
At the 90-cent tax rate, you pay $1,809.95 a year in taxes.
At an 83-cent rate, you pay $1,669.18.
Your savings there: $140.
Per month: $11.67.
Don’t spend it all in one place.
Or let’s say you own a home on the 400 block of Dinwiddie Avenue currently assessed at a value of $131,400.
At a 90-cent rate, you’re paying $1,182.60 a year in property taxes.
At 83 cents: $1,090.62.
Per month: $7.67.
Equalizing the tax rate does, what, for Lana Williams exactly, for the average homeowner, for me?
It’s not even twenty extra bucks a month in any of our pockets.
Not having the collective spending power makes us materially less safe from emergencies, puts our water and sewer infrastructure at risk, gets our kids less ready for the future.
Penny wise, pound foolish.
Don’t know about you, but I’m damn sick and tired of these idiots running our city.
It’s time we stand up to their empty threats with some muscle of our own.
They want to run more of their knuckledraggers?
They want to run our city into the ground. It’s time to run them out of office on a rail.
Story by Chris Graham