Has Suffolk cut to the bone? Hardly.

Published 9:05 pm Monday, May 24, 2010

To the editor:

Once again, I found myself writing another check to our friendly Suffolk City Treasurer for my real estate taxes. As I did so, I pondered just how much I was really paying and what services the city renders for this huge part of my family budget.

While I do admit that my wife and I overdid it a little when we built our new home three years ago, I was struck by just how much I was going to have to pay again, and for only one half of the year’s tax bill.

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The amount was almost three thousand dollars, just like last December and the same a year before that. Even in this bad economy, the amount had not changed much at all from a few years ago, when the economy was booming.

So I was thinking. I get my trashcan dumped once a week and the police drive by a few times a month. I don’t have school-aged children anymore, but I do strongly support public education, so I threw that in, too. For fire protection, the Whaleyville Fire Department is a few miles down the road. A very few of my dollars from the city budget supports them, so I usually go to the fish frys and other fundraisers to help them out so they will be there when I need them.

That’s about it. Not a good deal.

So that leaves me to ponder this question: Just what do I get for all these dollars that I really struggle to give the City twice a year? While many of my neighbors pay mindlessly via their monthly house payment/escrow and never pay a huge tax bill, I pay it in cash, and it hurts.

The only thing I can tie directly to answer for these thousands of dollars I must pay every six months is that I am paying to live in a country, society, commonwealth and city that allow me to make the money to pay this huge bill.

I am patriotic and all that. I served my country in the military for more than 20 years. I also have been well educated, with more than one college degree. And I also appreciate the freedoms and opportunities I enjoy, but at what cost?

Then I had a revelation. I was thinking about all the cuts and reductions that I have read so much about during the last three “tough budgets” that the city has claimed. The claims made by some that they have “cut to the bone,” yet did not need to raise taxes, sure sounded good, but what I was then thinking was this: If they could take these reductions and cuts now, how could they honestly claim that they had such “lean budgets” in the recent past? It just did not jive.

I am now thinking that all claims that come from the city administrators and politicians must truly be suspect. Maybe they can even get government smaller and perhaps spend less, and I can pay less too. What an idea!

Now, just don’t get me going on that new $300,000 police boat the Chief just floated with my money, too!

Roger A. Leonard