Plenty of growth
Ledger- Enquirer and Mayor Tomlinson, you have not convinced me. I have lived in this town for only 23 years, so I am a newcomer. Just drive out along Schomburg Rd. near where I live and see the traffic congestion. Maple Ridge has grown from here to Veterans Parkway. In my subdivision alone, there was a little piece of land that I thought for sure would stay wooded. No, they put in about 20 new homes right beside Hwy 80 and every one of them sold.
How about the massive new planned community, Old Towne, on north Veterans Parkway? Have you driven out along St. Marys Rd. lately? I’ll be glad to go with you and point out hundreds of new homes built in the last six years. How about out Buena Vista Road? In the last ten years, hundreds of new homes have been built out that way.
I worked in construction in the late ‘90s-early 2000s and I’ll be happy to show you the growth. The two houses next to me have turned over a total seven times since I’ve lived here. One neighbor doesn’t know about the tax freeze and has not applied. Remember, one does need to apply, as it’s not automatic. Some study states that it takes 14 years to see any advantage from the freeze. What study? Who wrote this study and paid for it? If my tax is $100 this year and doesn’t go up next year, I’d call that an advantage. I personally know a young family man who recently left a stable job for a new career in real estate. He’s doing quite well, thank you!
Michael Bragg, Columbus
What kind of future do I wish for Columbus? I wish for a progressive city that encourages young people and people with fresh ideas to move here and build on the progress of the past. The present property tax system does just the opposite.
Do we really want our children paying our way on property taxes? Do we want newcomers to realize that if they buy a house in Columbus they will be paying five and six times what their neighbors are paying for the same value house – just because the neighbor has been there for many years?
This proven no-growth tax policy is great for old-timers, but for people who are in the trenches making a living dependant on the local economy, it’s not so great. Here is hoping and praying that the people of Columbus will change the present property tax system to one that will eventually be fair and welcoming to all.
Murray Calhoun III,
I've seen two different missives distributed to apartment complex residents (Bickerstaff/Waddell and Greystone Properties) proclaiming residents should vote "Yes" to keep their rent from going up. In reality, the opposite is true. A "Yes" vote will actually promote raises. If home property taxes can be raised annually , then fewer folks can buy or keep their homes which will up demand for rental space, and that allows landlords to raise rent ... just simple supply & demand principles that drive our economy. In another way, the landlords are greedy and self-serving ... by getting their tenants to vote "Yes", they are getting them to be less able to buy a home, and the tenants will be locked in longer to their rentals.
Hal Kirven, Columbus
Drop the anchor
Does it seem like we’re walking in slow motion while other Southern cities are moving and grooving, adding jobs and attracting modern new companies? We are.
That’s because Columbus has a battleship anchor chained to its neck. While other cities are prospering and attracting innovative companies and fresh capital, Columbus is dragging around a rusty old relic of its sleepy mill town past -- the property tax freeze. This ten-ton freeze is weighing us down and keeping our economy and population in slo-mo.
Columbus has amazing resources, astonishing cultural amenities and a can-do community character. Everything a great city needs.
But we’ve got a doozy of a problem: our property tax rates are among the highest in the state and the smart, young entrepreneurs who’ve heard about the new “Cool-umbus” scene see our system for what it is -- burdensome and unfair. In today’s rising new economy, unfairness is poison.
Yes, blue-ribbon companies have recognized Columbus as a great prospect for putting down roots. But our Welcome-Stranger-Pay-My-Taxes system shouts, “Outsiders not welcome!” and they pass us by.
My friends, it’s time to hang out the Welcome sign and shout to the world that we’re open for business.
On November 8, Columbus will decide: Are we satisfied being a sluggish economic backwater or are we ready to be an agile, dynamic City of Tomorrow?
I’m voting for my grandchildren’s future. I’m voting yes to Thaw the Freeze. Reinvention begins here.
Paul Pierce, Columbus
‘Thaw’ no solution
I am voting No to thaw the freeze. Do not be duped and tricked into this theory. It doesn’t fix anything. No one has shown any quantitative data convincing me that we should screw with a tax system that is working.
I purchased three (3) homes in Columbus since 1985. The tax freeze was the reason.
The freeze is not the reason for stagnated growth. Columbus is at a saturation point with little room for housing growth. Twenty years ago, we recognized our county is out of room (land) for more industry (especially blue collar). Surrounding counties approved massive new housing projects. KIA chose West Point. This is why they grew at the rates given.
Don’t let anyone tell you that the freeze is bad for our schools. We have good schools. We have proved this. We have the budget to support our District.
Don’t let anyone tell you that the freeze is bad for our city services. We have good services. We have proved this. We have the budget to support the county.
Budget challenges are not fixed by thawing the freeze, and never will be.
Thawing our tax freeze does not fix disparities and never will. Traditional home tax plans are rife with disparities. Some of them are worse.
We are not guaranteed to remain “grandfathered.” No one can prove, when challenged in court … and it will go to court . that we are 100% guaranteed to keep it. I am not willing to risk this argued by lawyers, or panels of judges, who will split hairs and debate minute details of law.
The tax freeze protects the homeowner and places a check on spending. It is working. We do not have a decrease in income from home property taxes. That income continues to go up.
Brian T. Luedtke,
Yesterday, four of us spent an enjoyable four-hour excursion dedicated to distribution of “No Thaw” literature. We got our message out to more than 500 families, and several of them asked for multiple copies in order to share the information with their friends.
The billboards and front-page “Thaw” stickers are impressive; however, algorithms and unsubstantiated promises of grandfathering the freeze are prime examples oF why I believe in the maxim of "$500 dollars of saved taxes today (and every year, guaranteed by law) is going to accumulate to $5,000 after five years." That is $5,000 I can spend on myself. Selfish? Not when you consider that I have spent the vast majority of my tax savings in Columbus establishments.
Last week, the chairman of the chamber of commerce and the mayor stated that Columbus Is seriously behind in growth when compared to other cities, and that thawing the freeze would make up for lost revenues. In my 38 years in Columbus, there has been significant growth and change. Thanks to mayors Martin and Peters, and their relentless assault on the stagnation of Columbus, we now have a gorgeous downtown area that joins the business community with Columbus State University; the RiverCenter is state-of-the-art; the Riverwalk is as beautiful as they come; we have a world-class whitewater rafting facility; and several national and international companies headquartered here and, if we compare their worth to 38 years ago, they have done quite well. Remember as well: all of this was done with a homeowners' tax exemption in place and protected by law! Please vote No.
David A. Young, Columbus
I moved to Columbus in 1997 from Tallahassee, Fla. Through the years I've seen some exceptional change which has positively impacted growth. Most notably, things that come to mind include the National Infantry Museum, Whitewater, CSU's UpTown Campus, and government facilities such as the Natatorium and Ice Rink. The YMCA's investment in our community along with all three medical facilities has also been extremely positive. These investments are exceptionally positive steps, a trend that must continue.
I view the tax freeze as detrimental to positive growth in Columbus by limiting taxes available as a resource. Today's economic growth, on the city scale, is dominated by choice. Businesses look at communities in terms of their ability to attract and retain a solid employment base supporting their mission and vision. Positive growth comes through a community's ability to provide amenities equal to, or preferably greater, than other area communities. A city's ability to provide these amenities is directly tied to available funds.
Additionally, a city's ability to offer competitive pay for government positions is a key factor in attracting exceptional talent on all levels. Funding also impacts department budgets, thereby impacting necessary resources such as people, equipment, and programs. Maintenance costs must also be considered as proper maintenance is much less expensive than replacement.
The bottom line is stagnation leads to failure. To avoid a stagnant economy we must ensure the availability of financial resources; we must thaw the freeze.
Sam Andras, Columbus
EDITOR’S NOTE: No letters relating to the Nov. 8 election will be published after Friday, Nov. 4. Depending on volume, it is possible we might not be able to publish some letters received earlier. We will make every effort to publish letters received in time for the Friday deadline.