For ‘full disclosure,’ I’m a Lakewood School district property owner who hasn’t had any children attend Lakewood Schools. Most property owners probably don’t know that nearly 80% of their property tax payments go to schools alone. All other local services and programs need just 21% to get by.
Lakewood says this levy will save money. That didn’t pass the smell test for me, so I did some checking. I started at the Board of Elections. The ballot language says, “Providing for the emergency requirements of the school district.” What’s the emergency?
Next stop was the County Auditor’s office where the “Fiscal Year 2013 Permanent Appropriation Resolution” from the district is available. Appropriations for 2013 total $24,369,554.
There was more detail in the “Amended Official Certificate of Estimated Resources.” Lakewood carried over $7.8 million in the general fund from the previous year. They will collect over $2 million in state reimbursement and $5.1 million in “other” revenues. They will take in a little over $13 million in taxes for one year. That’s $28.2 million in general revenue alone and another $1.2 million in “special revenues.” I’m not sure what “Special Revenues” are.
The district propaganda is a bit misleading. The auditor’s office explained that if this levy passes, there are no real savings. They will be the same as last year. This is a renewal. Savings are related to a past levy. This sounds a lot like Washington spin.
I’m not an accountant nor an expert, but this leaves me with some skepticism and questions. Someone should explain to taxpayers how their money is being spent and prove it’s being spent efficiently.
Don’t take my word for this. The information is available to anyone who wants to check the numbers. Until we quit writing blank checks and know how OUR money is being spent, we will continue to get fleeced by our school districts and various governments. Demand accountability! It’s our money that they want. I also believe that if you don’t pay property taxes, you shouldn’t have a vote on tax levy issues.