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Tax rates over time

A natural question to ask regarding taxes in Area F is: How are they changing over time?

Unfortunately, this is a difficult question to answer because different parts of Area F belong to different service areas (water, garbage, fire protection, and so on).  Moreover, some services have changed over the years.  For example, curb-side pickup of recyclables is now paid for by producers (though MMBC) rather than by taxpayers (keep in mind: you are paying either way; only the incentives are different).  At the same time, curb-side pick-up of yard waste has been expanded.  So the service in 2014 is different from the service in 2006.

One way to avoid comparing across service areas is to focus on a single property.  What I have done here is focused on a single, semi-randomly selected house on the West Bench.  Its current assessed value is $490,000, so its taxes are slightly above average.  This comparison is limited to items on the RDOS tax bills. It does not include additional services billed separately, such as water and garbage collection.

I have plotted the various components of the property tax for the West Bench property over time. These are in real (inflation adjusted) dollars assuming an inflation rate of 1.5%. I also show assessed value, which really has very little to do with taxes unless the value of the property changes dramatically relative to other properties (not the case here—just the normal ups and downs).

Overall, the graph shows that the RDOS portion property tax (the portion the RDOS Director has some impact on) have increased an average of 1.5% per year above the inflation rate (also, coincidentally, assumed to be 1.5%).  Of course, this is sensitive to the assumed inflation rate and the base year of 2006 (a year with low taxes).  My first budget at the Director for Area F was 2009; however, there was a tax mix-up that year (recall details here) so it is not a suitable base year. If we use 2008 as the base year, the average annual tax increase for the West Bench reference property has been about 0.6%.  Not zero, not negative, but not huge.

(click for full size PDF)


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