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Budget: two perspectives
For the past three years at least, Fredericksburg budget public hearings have mainly been attended by nonprofit executive directors, either asking the City Council members for more money or thanking them for the money they’ve been granted.
Even in years when the city has proposed raising taxes, these hearings do not typically include lots of homeowners, schools advocates or employee advocacy groups. In other places where I have covered budgets, these constituencies are a constant presence at budget public hearings.
I would expect that this year’s hearing would be a little more boisterous, since the cuts proposed to the schools funding, nonprofit funding and employee pay are much more drastic than in any year in the past, and the real estate tax rate could go up as much as 5 cents.
But if that doesn’t happen, I did find interesting that the only two comments at the bottom of today’s story express two very different perspectives on the budget.
FredTalk user "poohsmrs" has this to say about the proposed employee pay cut:
As an employee of over 25 years, I was disheartened to hear that the City was cutting City employees’ salaries. We have been asked to do more with less (supplies and staff) for the last year. It is tough to keep morale up when your pay and holidays are taken away. Oh, but thanks for the $10,000 one day picnic … I’d rather have my pay back. I was planning not to retire and help my agency weather this storm, but not when you take away my pay and affect my retirement benefits. Sorry, boss gotta go ….
User "larryg," I am pretty sure, is not a city homeowner, but argues that perspective:
for most folks with mortgages, tax increases translate directly into higher monthly payments. Not sure where the $120 example came from but for those elected contemplating tax increases – perhaps a better way of judging impact would be to look at the impact of increases on the price of "affordable" homes because – in effect, what they’re also voting on – is affect the ability of new buyers to afford their first home.
And for the record, the $120 example is based on the fact that if you own a $400,000 home and the tax rate goes up three cents, as proposed, you will pay $120 more a year.