Local taxes keep going up and upPublished 10:47am Thursday, January 17, 2013
My name is Terry Tarvestad and I have lived in Albert Lea most of my life. What the heck is going on? December must be a bad month. The newspaper and the mail seem to be giving us home owners all the information on increases in property taxes, water and sewer price hikes. Raises in pay for county employees and raises with big bonuses for watershed employees. Most of my friends and acquaintances are 60 and over. We have worked hard to have a nice home to live in, but we are nearly being taxed right out of our home.
My property tax for 2013 on my home is up 16.4 percent, or $647, and a single dwelling vacant lot I have is up 37 percent, or $196. I have a friend who has a home in Willmar that is worth more than mine but my taxes are 39 percent higher than his. Several people I talk to have the same scenario, some even worse.
Don Blake has prepared a pamphlet that tells the story very well. He has presented it to the county commissioners and city council, which should help them open their eyes. It would be nice if that was published in the Albert Lea paper. The mayor and the city manager thought there may be some merit in Don’s report and said they are talking about a 15-year plan. Where does that make us 60- to 75-year-olds and up stand? Maybe we will be on the county.
I sure don’t know it all, but something is very wrong when our taxes are way above similar-size towns. I’m sure there are all kinds of situations, but this is mine and some others I know.
I was a salesman for 10 years and traveled Minnesota, Iowa and eastern South Dakota. There are many neat towns out there that don’t have bumpouts, empty bank buildings, a dirty lake, etc., but do have good fire, police and sheriff departments, lakes and rivers. We are not Lanesboro, Red Wing or Stillwater. We are a small town that can’t seem to grow. About 35 years ago we were going to be the southern Minnesota retail capital, building malls, etc. What happened? Let’s have a good little town with a clean lake, good roads and businesses that don’t have to be told how to do everything. We are spending and taxing more than we need.
When the city took over the bank, the people on the street (general public) were against it and now the people on the street (general public) are against bumpouts. When the city took over the bank for a million dollar investment for the future of Albert Lea, it turned into about a $3 million loss for the city which taxpayers have to make up. Wouldn’t it be nice if the city just put in a new street, no bumpouts and saved the taxpayers a couple mill? Wow.