Lies, Damned Lies and City Tax Statistics

Towards the end of my second term on Council I started trying to dig into the numbers (yes, it took me that long!) I decided to look more closely at property taxes and discovered, contrary to what City staff had led me to believe, the City's tax rate was higher than the Districts. 

Shari Lazlo, Jeff Murl and I collaborated to update the analysis I did in 2014. The result was the attached presentation to City Council on taxes. 

Defenders of the City's low tax reputation will point to the fact that utility fees are lower in the City. However, unlike other municipal expenditures, utility costs and fees are not very comparable or shareable. In the case of the water and sewer utilities, they are a function of density, terrain and the condition of the pipes in the ground. In a hypothetical 'reunification' there is no reason to merge the utilities. The pipes and metering systems are not going to change. The only thing that would eventually happen is there would be savings in overhead that would go to everyone.

As you can imagine, this presentation was not received with much enthusiasm. It was referred to staff for a review and rebuttal which we hope we made easier by attaching a data sheet at the end with all of the numbers and their public sources.  You can see a copy of the presentation by clicking this link or putting this url into your browser.

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