>The following letter appears in this weeks edition of the Independent:
As township officials try to explain the reason for the latest round of tax increases, they refer to a few factors, one of which is the cost of snow removal during the winter of 2010. This explanation is disappointing and frustrating on several levels. The main responsibility of our budget planning committee is to have the foresight to plan for expenses that we know are going to vary from season to season. This means calculating an average budget target for yearly snow removal, which shields us from major shortfalls during the high swings. So, if snowfall in 2009 was light, and we hadn’t fully used the budgeted money for that line item, we could roll it over to 2010 and have some fiscal cushion when snowfall is heavier. Are we to assume if the winter of 2011 is mild, we’ll have a budget surplus and tax rates will decrease? I doubt it. Are we to assume that our budget planners simply approach snow removal in singleyear increments, rather than looking at well-known trends, and then hope for mild winters? It sounds like they do. While I can understand the reduction in state aid as a factor in the budget shortfall, I simply can’t buy into the rationale that property taxes are increasing 13 percent partly because we had a bad winter in 2010.
In the long term we’re wondering how we’ll ever find buyers for our homes that come with such staggering property tax rates. One of many things needed to get this mess under control is proper planning. I question how well that planning process is being executed when heavier than usual snowfall is cited in the list of factors for a double-digit tax increase.