The life we all love comes at a cost: taxes
In every school-improvement discussion I notice two things: First, we need a new gym. And second, why does Gainesville need an airport – so let’s put a new school there.
Whether the airport is needed is irrelevant. It is there. The school has enough property to build a new school (including a new gym) where the football field and bus barn are. When a new school is built, rebuild the stadium where the old school building is. And yes, the school needs a new building.
We have very low taxes here compared with other places. As a result, the county services have less to work with and the public gets less benefit and fewer services from those taxes. The ambulance tax increase that the voters approved earlier this year was the first increase in the history of the district (since around 1982, I think). And yet we know the costs have gone up every year to run the ambulance district. The county’s law enforcement tax does not even fully fund the sheriff’s department. People want and need these services, but no one wants to have to pay for them.
The school levy is used to its fullest every year. Does it need to increase? Absolutely. It should have increased years ago. But the hang-up is always a new gym being the priority. Yes, it’s needed. But so are many other improvements that people view as more important – like raising pay to attract and keep teachers, and re-instating some of the vocational trade classes.
The country life we all love so much comes at a cost: taxes. Because people declined to let the county progress with things like Walmart and other possible tax-generating businesses or industry, we are now paying the price. And with many of our residents working out of town (or just living closer to the box stores than to Gainesville), we are losing even more tax dollars to neighboring counties and states that have these big box stores. As hard as this is for people on fixed incomes, it is just as hard for working people in this county who are working at or barely above minimum wage.
So, in a nutshell, we all need to accept the fact that we need to raise taxes if we want our school, law enforcement, ambulance and road and bridge departments to provide the services we all expect from them. That is one fact of life I do not like, especially as someone who doesn’t have children in a school district that gets the vast majority of my taxes. But I accept that the kids need an education, and someone has to pay for it.
We are paying the minimum, and we’re getting the minimum for it. Now is the time to change that.