Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is it time for the Pleasant Prairie Tea Party?

The Pleasant Prairie Village Board is considering a budget proposal that would result in a 5% increase in village property taxes.

That's a gutsy move, to say the least.

For years the village has run a lean -- perhaps too lean -- government without jacking up the tax rate. The village touts how the village tax rate is among the lowest in the state and compares favorably against neighboring communities (although these comparisons are somewhat skewed as they leave out garbage collection which is a separate bill in the village)

And one of the downfalls of running too lean is the failure to adequately provide for capital improvements. Trustee Michael Serpe warned for years about cutting too close to the bone.

Thus it seems that the budget proposal is, in part, a reflection of past austerity.

But village taxpayers and vocal opponents of the village government may not be so kind in their assessments. A 5% increase in the tax bill and 8% spending boost probably won't sit well with some of these folks -- especially in light of the brutal budget battle in the state legislature -- and you'd be hard pressed to blame them as nobody likes to see their taxes go up.

There may be others who'll wonder if the golden days of village expansion are over. They may question why a tax increase is needed when major new developments are getting off the ground and ostensibly should be contributing more taxes to the village coffers. The village board must be prepared to fully answer each of these questions, regardless of whether

Regardless of how appropriate the village board's answers may be to these issues taxpayers still have every right to ask questions and demand answers. Plus, they are not required to accept the answers they get. Fair or not, there may well be Hell to pay at the next couple of village elections.

As the old proverb says, "May you live in interesting times."

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