Why don’t more Suffolk residents say ‘nay?’

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

I’m writing to welcome a well spoken newcomer to the Suffolk Naysayers Club.

The recent letter by a retired naval officer regarding the runaway real estate assessments in Suffolk should evoke some thoughtful consideration by the persons who are feeding the insatiable city government with their hard-earned tax dollars. That gentleman wonders why more people don’t question the absurd and obscene taxes being generated by bloated and inflated assessment increases being mailed out almost daily by the Assessor’s Office.

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I too wonder why only a relative handful of Suffolk’s taxpayers say &uot;nay&uot; to ballooning real estate taxes that threaten to destroy the very quality of life that attracted many retirees and others on fixed incomes to our city. But, if past is prologue, all that will happen will be a blast from the Suffolk Can Do No Wrong Club.

I wonder what would happen if we, the real estate owners and taxpayers of Suffolk said &uot;Enough is enough&uot; and stopped paying the ransom (read that excessive real estate taxes resulting from the 24-hour money-printing system operated by the assessor’s office) to live in our homes for another 6 months? Of course, the &uot;City&uot; would place a lien on several homes, and some of the persons feeding at the downtown public trough would swoop in to buy the confiscated property at auction. If the auction sale prices in such a scenario failed to reach the assessed &uot;values&uot; ascribed to such property by the City Assessor, would such sales be considered &uot;comparables&uot; in the next round of assessments? But then, come the next election day, there might be some new blood on council.

In reality, there’s only one thing we can do to re-take control of our city government – we have to vote the ins out.

That means every two years we must find thoughtful, conscientious, and intelligent persons who are willing to take on the thankless task of sitting on city council and voting against the waste of public money to fund downtown boondoggles and double-digit salary increases for the ever-increasing ranks of upper-ups in city government. Then we will have to fund the campaigns of such persons and stand behind them all the way.

And another thing, when did Bill Clinton’s &uot;spinmeister&uot; move to Suffolk? Whoever is writing the pieces &uot;explaining&uot; why the city didn’t overspend its CIP budget last year would do &uot;der Slick Meister&uot; proud. I had no idea that transferring money from &uot;surplus&uot; account to pay for expenditures greater than stated in an approved budget made everything OK. The sad thing is that only a few of us even care enough to take the time to write a letter questioning the actions, or inactions, of those we have elected to represent us and/or the employeees of the city that are paid to be good stewards of our tax dollars.

Finally, regarding the apparent &uot;shop downtown&uot; litmus test applied by some city council members, I suspect that most Suffolk citizens don’t shop downtown because there is nothing downtown that they need or want. If a person can buy everything they need or want within a few miles of their home where ample parking is available, why should they be required to go downtown? If failing to shop downtown disqualifies the area in which I have lived since 1963 (north Suffolk) from receiving city funds, so be it. But while Council is withholding City funds from one area and spending them on another area, namely downtown, would it not be fair to refrain from taking a disproportionate share of real estate tax dollars out of our area?

C.L. Willis, P.E.