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Library director makes case for $2.8 million property tax increase

story by Ryan Saylor
rsaylor@thecitywire.com

A proposed millage increase to be voted on next month would net the Fort Smith Public Library an additional $2.8 million in revenue, allowing the library to expand offerings and upgrade technologies to meet customer expectations.

That was the message library executive director Jennifer Goodson shared when interviewed about the millage increase Monday (July 21), the first increase the library has sought since 1957's increase from a half-mill to one-mill.

Goodson said the current one-mill of property taxes accounts of about $1.4 million of the library's annual operating budget. Additional funding comes from the countywide sales tax, of which the library receives 6% of the city's share of revenue. The amount totaled $921,239 in 2013 and was budgeted at $925,572 this year.

Another revenue source for the library includes $100,000 in fines and fees collections. The library also receives some state funding and grants. The library's 2014 budget was set at $2.7 million.

Should voters approve the two-mill hike on Aug. 12, Goodson said the additional $2.8 million would slightly double the library's budget and allow the largest library system in Sebastian County to expand its offerings.

She said the plan presented to the public through a series of civic presentations, town hall meetings and online at LibrariesChangeLives.us was developed in coordination with the library's staff, board of directors, endowment and other community stakeholders and offers services of some sort for all Fort Smith residents, not just children or adults.

"Part of the intention of creating this plan for the library's future was to come up with a future for the library that impacted every single person in the community. So we didn't want something that just impacted children, although that's certainly important. We didn't want something that just impacted techies, although that's important, too. And so the plan really has something, or I say in many cases multiple somethings, that benefit every single person in the community."

Following are specific areas where the funding will be spent, according to the library's campaign website promoting the millage increase:
• Offer more books, audiobooks, and DVDs;
• Expand special collections such as Spanish language, Vietnamese language, large print, and Genealogy;
• Lease copies of bestsellers to better meet customer demand;
• Offer more digital magazine titles through Zinio;
• Offer more eBooks and downloadable audiobooks through Library2Go;
• Expand the resources available through TumbleBook Library;
• Add new eBook offerings such as Disney Digital, Sesame Street books online, BookFlix, and Safari computer/technology books online;
• Offer Netflix-style streaming video through hoopla, Freegal Movies, and/or other services;
• Update, upgrade, and expand current technology;
• Add computers for children, teens, and adults;
• Upgrade Internet speed, improve WiFi;
• Update and add software for library users;
• Upgrade and redesign the Fort Smith Public Library website;
• Add the ability to accept online payments of fines and fees;
• Develop a mobile app to better direct library users to digital resources;
• Upgrade the Main Library Community Room audio/visual system;
• Microfilm-to-digital conversion project for newspapers and other historical materials;
• Print-to-digital archives conversion project for one-of-a-kind print materials such as photographs and funeral home records;
• Replace digital signage systems inside the libraries; and
• Checkout Kindles/iPads/laptops to cardholders for in-library or outside library use.

Goodson said the decision to add to and improve so many items should the millage pass was made in an effort to serve "every single person in the community."

"And we recognize that not everybody in the community uses every resource and service that we offer and that's part of serving a community the size of Fort Smith. And we also recognize that on a day-to-day or a year-to-year basis, what people need and look for out of the public library will change. Someone with little children is going to use the library very differently than someone whose children are grown and out of the house or who may not have children at all. So that sort of goes back to what I was saying about the plan — we recognize that not everyone in the community will be excited and enthusiastic about every part of what we offer with expanded funding, but we've got several things in the plan that will appeal to folks no matter how they use the library."

While each individual improvement or addition to the library cannot be detailed in each and every presentation, Goodson did point out the need to improve technology at all library locations and not just by increasing the inventory of iPads and computers.

She said the library plans to install RFID (radio frequency identification) at the library's branches in order to improve inventory control and customer service. The technology would not only allow the library to locate mis-shelved books or be notified of books being taken from the premises without first being checked out, but it would also allow for the eventual implementation of self-checkout of books.

"It's one of those infrastructure things that will improve the quality of people's experience when they come into the library when they really don't know what all is going on in the background," Goodson said.

The library's main branch will also feature a "maker space," which she said would allow individuals to use technology such as 3-D printers and video editing equipment for personal projects or possible small business needs such as a training video.

The maker space is not intended to serve as a business incubator, Goodson said, adding that the goal was simply to offer specific technologies to the public.

"In the library world, the philosophy behind a maker space is being able to offer technology to the public that they may not be able to get their hands on another way. And so technology in the maker space environment is very broadly defined. A 3-D printer is one of the most common things that appears in a library maker space and that's something that a lot of people really don't have access to any other way. So this would be an opportunity for people to utilize a 3-D printer that they might now have access to."

The date of the special election, Aug. 12, was selected in order to focus the conversation on library needs instead of being drowned out by other statewide races taking place in November, according to Goodson.

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She added that if approved, the two-mill increase to three-mills would cost Fort Smith homeowners (with a median home price of $100,000) about $60 per year, or $5 per month. The current one-mill accounts for $20 per year in property taxes, or about $1.66 per month.

And if approved Goodson said she hopes it is another 57 years before another millage increase is requested.

"But at any rate, we expect the additional two-mills to position the (branch) libraries well into the future. We have very strong facilities, we just now need the funding for what goes on inside the facilities to be as wonderful and as strong and supportive as the facilities, the buildings are."

Five Star Votes: 
Average: 4.6 (18 votes)

Comments

Why couldn't this vote wait

Why couldn't this vote wait until the general election in November? Seems like an awful waste of money for a special election. Are they afraid it would fail in the general election? I say vote this down. What we really need money for is a 3rd High School. Not funding for a library that is already well funded.

Stop The Madness Say No To Library Tax

We are tired of the same BS from these same people who for some reason think that throwing more tax money at these existing libraries is a positive thing to do at this time, hard to believe. If we don't build this 3rd high school then we are not doing anything but hurting this city for years and years to come. When business and families visit this city to discuss weather it be to build a new plant to create jobs or look to build or buy a new home one of the very first things they want to see is your schools and the quality of their facilities. This new high school is as important an issue to this city as a new 500 person plant would be, development follows a modern school system. People wake up and stop this herd of sheep that we got leading this city before its too late, they will spend your money on every little wish list project these groups, directors, dept. heads, ...etc. until we stop funding them. Put our money towards something that's actually needed instead of towards something that's already funded and has multiple locating working just fine.

You Ask Why

Because Special Elections don't get a lot of attention from voters in Fort Smith and all the supporters of this question will be out in force to load the ballot boxes in favor of a property tax increase.

I agree on the election

Special elections should be prohibited. Not only are they costly, but, the only reason they are held is to limit turnout. That seems very contray to what our founding fathers were striving for. I don't understand the need for a 3rd high school. The school district is not growing particularly fast. To be truthful, all Chaffee Crossing is going to do is shift people from the west to the east.

Special elections too much trouble

Yes, how dare we, as Americans, have to get off our collective butts and make a trek to the polling place more than two or three times a year? The polling place is all of, maybe 3-5 miles from our home. It's such an inconvenience. Get this through your thick skulls-- this special election is being paid for with PRIVATE funds. There are equal opportunities for supporters of this millage and opponents of this millage to vote. I don't understand all of this talk about low turnout will cause the millage to pass. If people care strongly one way or the other, they should make the time to vote (5 days of early voting plus election day). If they don't vote, they deserve what they get-- however the vote goes. Only those who are truly motivated to vote should have their voice heard.

Actually, our founding

Actually, our founding fathers would have disapproved of most people being able to vote on such issues to begin with. They favored an aristocratic republic where voting rights were limited to heads of households who owned property and they believed that decisions relating to taxation should be made by an educated propertied elite. That being said, the idea that the purpose of this special election for the library is to limit turnout is ridiculous. No one is stopping anyone from going out to vote. The same number of people who are allowed to vote in a general election are also allowed to vote in this special election. If people deem the issue important enough to go to the polls then they will do so. The only difference is that in the case of a special election, the voters will be able to consider a single issue (i.e. the future of the library) without the distractions of petty partisan politics in November. Finally, the special election is only costing $10,000 and is being paid for with private donations. It is not costing the taxpayers anything.

Another thing about limiting polling places

is you limit the number of people who might be reminded to vote as they pass by one. If Special Elections ever stop working don't be surprised if they try the old No means YES trick a few times again at some point in the future. Remember the idea is to call it a democracy, have us go fight for a democracy, get us to envision one as our right hand covers our heart, and then run the place however they choose while we stay well out of the way.

When I hear 'Quality of Life', usually mine suffers!

In Sebastian County with each consecutive appraisal, there has been an increase every time. The math isn't adding up to soon be receiving 3x as much funding (maybe) yet the budget only goes up 2x. One should be careful in this area where leaders of the past have had no qualms simply getting what they want another way if they have to. Folks either you break the dog from sucking eggs somehow or someday you're gonna have to shoot it because it will just keep comin' back for more. It's not about the library here, it's about gaming the system. This situation IMO may have been lead astray by some of the 'old school' members of the library board. I wish they had asked for something reasonable instead of a 200% increase and I wish they were willing to at least give voters a fair shot at making a decision themselves on the matter rather than shelling out for only ONE thing in a special election for ONE reason and that's because the majority of people usually forget to show up. Makes me really wonder when the high school millage increase is scheduled. I can't go for these little tricks here any longer.

Ridiculous

More taxes from a closet-liberal city. Just what we need.... Way to go Fort Smith, way to go.

Library Millage Vote

Will vote "no" - tried to donate a brand new, expensive, beautiful children's book last year in honor of someone and was told that they would rather have money to buy their own books and would not accept my donation. So, I donated it to an elementary school library, and they were delighted to receive it!

Just Vote No

Other articles are indicating we need a sewage increase for court mandated wet weather problems. In 2018 we are going to have a tax or millage increase for police/fire pension shortfalls. These two issues effect people. The library is an amenity that can wait for brighter days. Vote no to fluff.

The Art Of Bambozzle

Every time property tax goes up, the library gets more money, every time a new building goes up, the library gets more money and every time Fort Smith gains property by annex, the library gets more money, so saying the library "has not had a increase in 57 years is pure and simple Bambozzle! Can we trust our library people to tell us the truth or are they learning to Bambozzle us like some of our other city officials?

Please Learn Facts

Yes, when property tax goes up, the library gets more money. Money that they've stretched to its limits and of which they've been responsible stewards. But the library doesn't have extra. Do you realize that your property tax (only if you live in Ft.Smith, not Barling, Hackett, Van Buren, Pocola; though people from these areas certainly use the library. Sometimes they even use it for help getting a job in your city!), pays the same amount for police and firefighter RETIREMENT as it does for the library? Obviously the library receives much less than the Sebastian County General Fund and the Fort Smith General Fund. Fort Smith Public Schools receive 36.5% of your property tax. Your library system receives 1%. They're only asking for 3%. Please educate yourself and learn about all the potential NEW and INNOVATIVE services this millage can provide. We support the schools at 36.5 and the library at 1? Wonder which should have taught you to spell bamboozle.

Responsible stewards

They might be responsible stewards now, but the items they are seeking out to purchase with these funds are reactionary expenditures indicative of a "me too" attitude. Just cause some other community has or some consultant recommends having streaming video, or video kiosks, or rental ipads, that does not mean that you go out and seek a tripling of the tax that funds you so you can have all the latest toys. They sought a very large increase comparative to what they have now, they want to spend it on buzzwords, they cooked up a vote with limited polling sites and an off time, put that all together and you do end up with a bamboozling.

Special elections will snuff out our economy

if we don't put a stop to them and the way to do that is to make something LESS likely to pass in one. They have gone to these things for years in our city to make sure the many are outnumbered by the few and our economy here shows it. It's at least as important to say no to HOW as it is to HOW MUCH with this 200% increase!

Fort Smith Needs This To Pass

The libraries of Fort Smith need this increase. Nobody else bats an eye when another group needs something but when the library asks for an increase after 57 years of not getting one it is looked at as an evil plan. If another school is needed why not ask the superintendent to take a pay cut to afford an additional school. The library has given past the point of its abilities without a word just happy to serve the community. I would love to see these additional items take place especially archiving the newspapers to digital. For those that do research it would be a great asset to be able to access the newspapers and other historical documents digitally and even possibly from home instead of going to the library. This is especially nice for the home bound who want to research family history but aren't able to get out to the library. Is there ever a good time for a tax increase? The answer is no but when a community group like the library asks for help after not getting any additional for 57 years while the schools and other city organizations have gotten help I don't think they are asking for too much. People are willing to pay for Netflix and Amazon which costs more than it will a month for the tax increase for the library that will offer more books, movies, internet, and other programs that would benefit the community. Take the time to go the website the library has set up and put in the different things you could use the library for and you would be surprised how much you would actually save with this tax increase. I'm voting yes because this town and it citizens need to give a little more to the library that gives so much more in return to the community.

Property taxes as a whole only went down once..

..and that was only because they went up too much. Every few years with each set of appraisers who knew full well what they had better come up with if they wanted next years contract, the library got a raise. From what I've seen from them this time..look out Sebastian county! Pity the library didn't ask for something reasonable but they didn't and we do have other things to consider adding soon. If we don't do something they will just keep pulling this 'special election' gimmick. I wonder if this originally was intended for things that couldn't wait.

This is GARBAGE and Jennifer Goodson KNOWS it!

You say "we haven't had an increase in 50+ years." The TRUTH is you get more $$$ with every new construction project and each increase in property values of existing properties! Please tell us Mrs. Goodson HOW in the world you run an election with only (4) polling places open -and- how CONVENIENT it is that those locations are in immediate proximity to the library branches? Citywire readers, please don't misunderstand that I'm ALL for excellent city services but lets do the funding in a FAIR and upright manner! This is GARBAGE and Jennifer Goodson KNOWS it - The Fort Smith Public Library System is NOT her personal domain! I sincerely pledge that if this passes under the present circumstances, I will contribute my $$$ to legal action seeking to overturn this vote.

2 Fort Smith Birds - 1 Smaller Stone.

As you may have noted from my previous comments, I'm not a big fan of Jennifer Goodson. However, it's important that we "make life worth living in ole' Fort Smith" and that got me to thinking about how to make a better library and toss in a new City Hall as a bonus! Stay with me on this kids, here it is: 1.- Move the paper books right out of the main building and distribute them between the smaller branches. 2.- Rework the 1st floor for a new "online electronic" library. 3.- Pack up the Garrison City Hall and relocate it to the 2nd floor of the main library. WHAM! All the city hall rental expense goes away and those $$$ are now available for the remodeling cost and then (a portion) of the funding for a "leasing cost" back to the library for some new online show-and tell, computers and maybe even a "green online bus" bringing energy efficiency and wireless library to our local schools getting the kids interested in a city service that many have never used! I say withdraw that nasty TOO MANY MILLS upcoming election and get busy saving the planet with the new "Electronic Library!"

Now the library wants to screw us!!!!

We are in disbelief once again on how tax payers are being asked to reach into their pockets at a time that families are still struggling to meet the increasing cost of groceries, health care and general daily living expenses. The request to increase the millage for the Fort Smith Public Library millage from 1-mil to 3-mil shows lack of concern for the hard working people that are barely making it. Asking for double what the current rate is should alarm anyone. When was the last time your paycheck doubled? The Fireman’s and Policy Retirement Funds each receive 1 mill. Think of what the police and fire fighters risk everyday (their life) and the service they provide. It seems out of balance, the Library asking for 3 mill for DVD’s, electronic books and digital magazines. The Fort Smith Library seems to be trying to pull a fast one on the voters in scheduling a special election and only having four places to vote. If the library is wanting the support of the citizens of this city to vote for the millage increase it then what not make it easier on the citizens by having more polling locations open! Think about it - some people will be voting during their lunch hour and before work & won't have the time to wait in line. They are asking for us to stretch our money even more and to go out of our way to exercise our right to vote. It was the library decision to do only 4 polling places. It was in the paper, on-line and on TV that the library said they had the funds to pay $30,000 for the election. They are the ones wanting the citizens of Fort Smith to vote YES yet they are making it harder for you to go vote at your regular polling place. We will vote against the millage, bottom line is we can’t afford another tax increase! We are still waiting for our "paycheck to double".
We are in disbelief once again on how tax payers are being asked to reach into their pockets at a time that families are still struggling to meet the increasing cost of groceries, health care and general daily living expenses. The request to increase the millage for the Fort Smith Public Library millage from 1-mil to 3-mil shows lack of concern for the hard working people that are barely making it. Asking for double what the current rate is should alarm anyone. When was the last time your paycheck doubled? The Fireman’s and Policy Retirement Funds each receive 1 mill. Think of what the police and fire fighters risk everyday (their life) and the service they ...>> Read the entire comment.

Be Kind & Do Good!

My Paycheck Has Doubled Since 1957

If you'll educate yourself you'll realize the library is wanting to provide much more than DVD's, electronic books and digital magazines. You're just behind. The special election is privately funded and is scheduled for August 12 so that it's importance and purpose is not lost in the miasma of partisan politics. The library board wants the focus to be on the library and all it offers and the potential to offer so much more, adding to the potential economic development opportunities for Ft. Smith. If it's really so hard for you to vote in a location within your ward, let the library know and they can get you there. As for waiting in line? We can only hope.

Screw Us?

Are you saying that those people who run the library in Fort Smith are trying to screw the taxpayers who have supported them and the system for generations?

Something Is Very Wrong

with the claim that the Library has not had an increase for 57 years because every time your property tax has gone up, the Library gets an automatic increase in funding. It certainly appears that someone is not telling the truth here about not getting any increases for 57 years.

Property value increase

While it is true that the millage has not increased in many years it is untrue to portray that as the library not having an ever increasing fund from the millage. As property values have gone up in the area, they have reaped the windfall. However asking for triple the millage for the items they have listed is ridiculous. By no means am I a pseudo free market tea bagger, however I don't think the public library needs to be in the netflix or redbox business. That's unneeded and just reeks of a rabbit hole of mismanagement, unforeseen cost and cobwebs growing on its lack of use. We don't need this fluff in the library system, the school district doesn't need its own performing arts center, nor does it need another high school. Perhaps managing through constraints would allow the administration of the school and the administration of library take a better look at their mission statement, at the existing resources available to them, and at the real and actual needs of those that they serve.

More Surprises Not Mentioned

When business and property owners taxes goes up a lot of bad things happen. Rent goes up, groceries go up, utilities go up, fuel goes up, home repairs go up, clothing goes up, the cost of eating out goes up, and everything you buy from merchants will go up to pay the additional cost of doing business in good old Fort Smith.

Ok then...

Alright, how's this for a solution? We don't need a main library and all the other "remote" libraries around the city. I bet the city could sell one of the buildings for $10mil+ plus the equipment, misc. inside and that would fund the central library for a few years to implement their digital revolution. Maybe during the nearly 5 years the city can band together, promote growth and business expansion and innovative entrepreneurialism which will bring in more taxes to fund things like a library system. Nobody trusts the city 'leadership' and those who push for increased taxes. Making a push in a special election because you think most people will stay home and you can rally your supporters is pretty shady and not a good way to gain trust. Then again, I'm willing to bet trust isn't a priority for anyone pushing for this added tax or the city BOD.

Red Herring

The ploy by the library tax supporters to say that the taxes on the library have not increased since 1957 is a complete red herring. The tax rate has not increased, but the tax receipts have increased dramatically. The county provided me with tax receipts from 2004 to 2013 and the net receipts went from $787,439.18 in 2004 to $1,138,832.12 in 2013. That is a 44.6% increase in 10 years. To argue that they have not had any additional revenue is completely dishonest. That alone is enough reason to vote down the tax increase.

1 mill, 57 years

They library people talk about having been at 1 mill of property tax since 1957. I've never heard them say they haven't "had any additional revenue" in 57 years. They acknowledge increased receipts from increased property values. They also point out that inflation has grown -- can you still buy a half gallon of milk for 35 cents? -- and that the library has grown in the number of buildings, the amount of people who live in Fort Smith and who use the library, and in what the library has to offer -- books and computers and databases and electronic books and music, etc.

Yeppers is correct. There is

Yeppers is correct. There is absolutely no deception on the part of the library. They have never said that has not been an increase in revenue over the years, only that there has not been an increase in the TAX RATE. In addition, from what I hear from the people I know who work at the library that their costs are continually increasing and that the needs of the community is changing. They cannot maintain their existing level of services or their existing facilities without an increase in the tax rate. However, maintaining the existing level of service and performing needed maintenance on the buildings is only part of what they want to do. They literally want to bring the library into the 21st century and make it one of the best libraries in the United States and a major point of pride for the city. With the increased revenue from the millage increase, they will be able to achieve their goals.

Use your brain folks

I am saddened that fellow citizens feel so poorly towards the library. As I see things, yes they do get a "raise" when property taxes go up. BUT, the cost of everything has gone up. We all expect to get a cost of living raise, so in my opinion, that is what happened there. In order for our city to grow and move forward, some things must change. We need to support all of our public services. I pay taxes just like everyone else, and I feel it is well worth my investment. I think that our libraries offer something to suit every need. I have attended meetings at the main location as well as at my local branch. My understanding is that the library allows groups to use their rooms for free. I have borrowed books, CD's and movies as well as the electronic resources like digital magazines and books. I am excited about what they are planning to use the money to purchase and provide.

No Brain Needed

There are those folks who want more raises and more free stuff paid for with your money and we all know that working people have had to tighten their belts because of the shrinking economy in Fort Smith. Property taxes do not need to go up in this terrible economy.

Pay to play

I would venture a guess that some of those who are complaining about the special election and the possibility of a 2 mill increase in our taxes to benefit our library are the very same folks who are wondering why Fort Smith doesn't have the same amenities and isn't growing like Northwest Arkansas. My opinion is that in order to grow and prosper, all of the citizenry has to "pay to play." My husband is retired on Social Security and I work, making less than $30,000 a year, and I think we can afford $5.00 a month ($60 a year) to improve our library. In fact, by utilizing one of our library's services, free music downloads, I have probably saved $75-$100 in the past year. I can't wait to see what the future holds if everyone will stop complaining and look to the future of our library and, ultimately, our city. I was always taught that you get what you pay for.

Taught Wrong

Paying more doesn't always mean that you get more and could mean whoever you are using for services is living high off your dollar. We pay a lot of our hard earned money to run our government and about 60% of the people in this country think that the more we pay the worse things get so if you want to give more to the library, empty your own wallet but leave mine alone!

Play With Your Own Money

and leave mine alone so I can support my family and enjoy my home! If you want to give to the library, do so but don't make me support your movie habits.

The 2 main unreasonable parts..

1. A 200% increase. 2. They resort to having a special election in hopes few will show up and then they can have their regulars vote it in. I am doubting the real reason for the rush up has even been mentioned yet as I watch the amount of thought shaping stories about a new high school and look at the amount of time until November...methinks those on the boards most of us are handily vetted out of just might know a little something here. Why don't we try moving the city forward by getting away a bit from the 'Lords vs Filthy Worthless Serfs scenario' we've used for so long here? Involve the rest a tad in the process and who know what might happen?

The 200% Increase Is A Kick In The Face

for the average person trying to raise a family and the Library Gang should be ashamed of themselves. What in the world are they thinking and where is the common sense leadership?

"Library Gang"? What kind of

"Library Gang"? What kind of ignorant comment is that? What the library is asking for is not very much money when you actually calculate it. For most people the cost will only amount to an additional $2 or $3 dollars per month. BTW, I know some of the people who work at the library and they are some of the most public service minded and selfless people I know.

The Gang Never Quits

The library wants more of your money by raising property taxes, the schools want more of your money by raising property taxes, and now the water department wants more of your money by raising water rates and the list goes on and on. The Gang that makes their living from tax revenues never sleeps and is always looking to increase their slice of the taxpayer pie.

The Gang Is Really Big

There is an enormous amount of people in Fort Smith that make a pretty good living off squeezing the taxpayers for more and more. Yes, I would call them a gang because the more that they take from the working people, the higher their own salaries go and its become a way of life for them. Take a look at city hall who has over 1000 employees who average over 62,000 dollars per year and some of the top earners are way over 100,000 dollars per year. Could it be that the library is following in the foot steps of city hall?

They did it with 'Special Elections' to a great degree

1000 employees who each bring one or two more are going to sway a 3,400 vote turnout and get that extra raise they were promised..that is if the vote passes. ;-) "Resounding approval..resounding approval from the people of Ft Smith!"..was what our last mayor would say after seeing the tally. If I know this surely all our Directors do. Translation; It's not bothering them tremendously, how much we pay in taxes. They all voted for a special election on something that could wait years to happen. ---------- Tuesday August 12th.

Keep leaching, Archie

Leaking, $2 or $3 here, a few bucks there, a couple more everywhere,.... the City can drain it from you. Next think you know, your left high and dry aka BROKE.

Our property taxes are going up too..

..and it looks like more than usual from the way the contract appraisers are sniffing around so our library will be getting a raise regardless. Of course 2 mills are not much but neither was another percent of sales tax back when it was 3% and where are we now with that? Is there anymore room on our utility bills for more taxes? Haven't they decided it's OK to charge sales tax on some rentals? Suffice it to say those receiving the money are not going to stop that part. Do we not have other things besides the environment to consider leaving for future generations? The environment is hard to predict..this is easy. August 12th.