The next best effort would be to try to satisfy most of the citizens. Even that is a tall order, however many of the problems associated with such an effort can be mitigated with intelligent thought. First, you have to put selfishness on the shelf. You can keep it close by so that you can retrieve it anytime you want, however for the time being, let's be community spirited. Please be advised, this is coming from a conservative.
Now, let's build a town. It's okay to be ignorant. You can fix ignorant. It's not okay to be stupid. You can't fix stupid. Also, those that know everything about all things are usually the ones that don't have a clue what they're talking about. So, it's left to us mere mortals to make life good. If we block out the NIMBYs, the elitists, and the stupid, we still have a large percentage of people to work with. If we leave our selfishness on the shelf, and block out the above list of nay sayers, we still have a good bunch of people in the majority that can design and develop our town into what it should be.
Of course, we want to satisfy the Rowlett residents, but we have an equally important calling to seek attention of others that do not live in Rowlett. It's kind of a little side plus. Why do we care about what others think? Because it puts money in your pocket.
When other people want to live in the town you live in, a bidding war takes place. Rowlett is about 80% built out. Good homes are becoming more difficult to find. If people in other parts of the DFW metroplex or other parts of the country start hearing about good things in Rowlett, a bidding war begins. The value of real estate goes up, including your homes. That is money added to your balance sheet.
There is an urban myth about increasing home values. Now, here's what the ignorant say........"I don't want my home value to go up because my real estate taxes will go up." Here's whats wrong with that statement. First, you have to start with a modest amount of intellect. A little knowledge of arithmetic will help. I think it's best to use an example or model to demonstrate best what's wrong with the above statement.
Let's say our town needs $100 million to operate each year. The Dallas County Appraisal District provides appraisals on all of the real property in Rowlett. The $100 million needed to run the city is divided by the real estate tax base and it creates the mil levy, or tax rate. Currently, the tax rate is about $.777173 per hundred of appraised value. To simply my story, I am not counting sales tax revenue, or fees collected, and I'm rounding a little. So, if your house was appraised at $200,000, that would be 2000 times .778, or $1,556.00 tax bill per year . Now, let's say everybody in town got a 25% jump in home values at the same time for a new appraisal of $250,000 for our house. If City Council held expenditures at the same $100 million, there would be a 25% DROP in the tax rate, or the new tax rate would be $.5835 per hundred of appraised value......or a new tax bill of $1,458.75. (Numbers rounded), but essentially the tax bill remained the same.
If you received a larger tax bill after a reappraisal, either your property has been evaluated over comparable properties (other $200K properties), or City Council spent 25% more money. It is your duty as a citizen to find out which one. Either file a protest about your appraisal, or raise hell over the spending of money. Those are your only two options. To just appear and say only that your taxes are too high is a sheer waste of time. There is one note of caution. To appear and protest your appraisal exposes you to the potential of an additional increase of evaluation. Be sure you have your story straight.
Here's another urban myth. Politicians use it a lot because it makes them look like they're sympathetic to the "common folk." In fact, it's often a head fake or incompetence. Many times, you hear this, "We don't have enough business and industrial development to help out with taxes. The residential properties are carrying an unfair load of the tax burden." Of course, they are talking about the very important tax base. I will not argue that it is not good to have a good representation of all types of real estate properties. It would be indicative of a well balanced community, with jobs, retail, and residencies. However, a tax base is a number, not a social structure. A tax base doesn't care what makes up it's number. It could be made up of houses, without industrial or retail properties. For example, do you think Highland Park worries about it's next industrial plant or the next Wal-Mart. I admit, I would like to see more industrial and more and better retail shops in Rowlett, but they aren't absolutely necessary. If Rowlett becomes so desirable that people are willing to pay $1 million for a house to live here, I think our tax base will do fine. Highland Park's tax rate is $.22 per $100 in evaluation. Our $200K house in Highland Park (if one could be found) would have a tax bill of $400.00. Do you think they're worried about getting a J C Penny store? A good tax base can very much be made up of upper level housing without a new Dairy Queen. Rowlett "officialdom" has to understand all this. I will admit there are other reasons for diversity, but we can not forget that the tax base is only a number. It has nothing to do with the type of properties that make it up. However, it has a lot to do with how we spend our money. I am aware of two residential projects that the Council turned down. Both were to produce homes in the $300K and up price ranges. The absorption rate was one house per week per subdivision. Therefore, at this time, we would be putting $600K per week into the tax base. We didn't do it. At our current tax rate, we could have been adding $4,668.00 per week, or $242,736.00 per year to our tax revenue with only these two subdivisions. What a bone headed mistake.
So, now we have our taxes straightened out for our city. Now what? This is already too long. I will get into a city's "make up" on the next post. ..