Tough municipal decisions: To tax or cut

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Every now and then city administrations are faced with the tough decision to cut services or raise taxes.

Neither decision is popular. 

And no matter which one they choose, they face public ridicule.

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On the one hand they can choose to keep taxes at the same level, but cut staff or the availability to some services.

With this decision the administration would create a situation where there are less people to do the same job.

Not only does this put a burden on the staff that remain, but also creates animosity with city residents who have to wait longer to pay a bill or apply for a building permit.

Alternately the city could cut the number of police or firefighters on the roads. Neither option is popular from any angle. 

Reducing the number of emergency responders leaves the city open to a possible issue should a large-scale emergency occur.

On the other hand the city could raise taxes.

There are only a few things that will bring people to election polls, and one of them is a tax issue.

As every working citizen knows, taxes are unpopular but in small amounts necessary to provide the infrastructure and services we have all come to expect from our federal and local governments. 

But at what point do taxes become too burdensome?

Many residents may feel they are already paying a hefty sum in taxes. 

Not just from their paychecks, but in property taxes as well, which is where the bulk of city revenue is derived.

No matter which way you look at it, the city has a tough decision to make.

They can alienate their constituents by raising taxes, but maintain the level of services.

Or they can keep the tax rate the same, cut services, and also alienate their residents.

We’re glad not to be in their shoes.