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Letter to the editor: Officials are full of charade and slogans

I was told by a North Dakota legislator last session that “If your property value is raised by the assessor, it doesn’t mean your property taxes will go up.” If you believe that, you believe “If you like your health insurance policy you can keep it, period.” Somebody said that but I can’t remember who. Both statements rank right there with “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

I built a commercial building 38 years ago. A plain utilitarian steel building constructed when Dickinson, N.D., needed all the economic thrust that it could muster. The property taxes were not low but reasonable. The taxes ranged from $1,900 to $3,900 per year with ups and downs due to questionable decisions by the city involving special assessment bonds. In 2010 the taxes were $2,860 after 35 years. In the year 2013 the taxes were $8,642, which is a 202 percent increase (2011-2013). Am I losing my marbles or is something wrong? The taxes are 200 percent more per year now than they were per annum for the first 35 years! I don’t want to be chintzy, but it looks like I’m being played a fool or patsy. The assessed value went from $167,000 in 2010, to $444,500 in 2013 (one man’s opinion). All these numbers can be verified at Stark County under property #41-0420-01000-400.

I contacted the assessor and he seemed offended by me showing up — no change. I went to the city meeting two days after I got my tax statement and all I got was “You should be grateful your property is appreciating in value.” I went to the county meeting on Jan. 7, and was told there was nothing they could do — but — they “were very concerned and very sorry.” After the meeting I was informed that commission functions included budgeting, spending taxpayer money and administering administrative matters — period. The calculation and collection of taxes was “done by others.” The local school district requested a 23 percemt increase in property taxes but that was to be covered by the state’s “property tax relief” — not. And the state government rings its hands and takes no responsibility.

Remember when the status quo people and the property tax spenders told us that property taxes were local, controlled local and remain local (I can name the ring leaders). That was nothing but a charade and slogans. It’s like saying “you have to triple your contribution or something bad might happen to your knee caps.” The mafia was the only one using that line, but now comes local government. The mafia, however, could go to jail. In the immortal words of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf “This is male bovine excretion.”