We would like to note something brought up at the Fairmont City Council meeting this week. Discussing the 2013 local property tax levy, officials mentioned that some residents may actually see their city portion of taxes decrease, in spite of higher property assessments and a higher overall city levy.
How's that possible? Growth.
That is, when the local tax base grows, there are more businesses and homeowners to pay. And there may be changes in who pays as well. A major industrial or business development, for instance, can lower the burden for everyone else.
All of this is worth remembering this time of year as cities, counties and schools finalize their levies. When it comes time to pay these bills, we should ask what we have done to help facilitate new growth during the year. Is the city (or county) hospitable to new business? Are regulatory burdens and taxes low? Do incentives exist to help businesses expand or relocate here? Does the populace understand that incentives are not "giveaways" if there are long-term benefits, such as more jobs and lower property taxes for everyone?
In the end, we believe there are some good things happening in Fairmont. Within the past year, for instance, Kahler Automation and Bank Midwest worked with the city on deals to help them expand. Hy-Vee also completed a major renovation. These successes build on other projects (Walmart and the industrial park businesses, for example) over the past decade. We say to the city:?Keep up the good work, and do more if you can.