Wednesday, October 31, 2007

How pleasant will things remain in "The Prairie?"

The next few months may be interesting ones -- politically speaking -- in Pleasant Prairie where the village board's plan for a 5% property tax hike undoubledly will cause some village residents to question what's going on at village hall.

After all, if the village is run so well, why is there a need for any tax increase? That's a good question -- and one that village officials must be prepared to honestly answer (especially if they want to save their political hides).

The 5% propery tax increase is coupled with a proposed 8% increase in village spending, a good chuck of which seems to be for capital items.

You'll recall that Pleasant Prairie voters last year overwhelmingly voted down three referendums to buy a new ambulance, snow plow and rescue equipment. Many village residents questioned then why the village didn't set aside money each year to buy these items.

On top of that, village officials have pointed out for many years that village finances are sound.

One of the answers may be that there's been so many necessary expenditures deferred for so long that they can be deferred no longer.

On the flip side, shouldn't more revenue be coming into village offers with all sorts of new development coming into the village -- such as the new Target store and other high-profile shopping opportunities -- and the massive land purchase by Abbott Laboratories? That's certainly a legitimate question.

Another one that may be a hard sell for voters is why the village is talking about a tax increase when even the Kenosha Unified School Board voted to reduce its tax levy.

Hardworking veteran trustees Steve Kumorkiewicz and Mike Serpe are up for election next year. If the proposed tax hike is approved, they'll be putting their political futures on the line -- and you can bet that their opponents will use this as fodder in the next election.

So far the usual opposition has been fairly quiet but don't expect that to last for long.

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