Yes, I put it out there. We need to raise property taxes.
We need to raise property taxes to get rid of the eye sores that are prevalent throughout town.
I know we already have high taxes in Commerce, but how else are we going to improve our town without getting rid of substandard homes?
How are we going to attract people to live in our town and employers if they drive down our streets and look at the junk that is here?
Have you taken a drive down Park, Locust or Sycamore lately? How about the former pride and joy of town, Bonham Street?
In past budgets, the City Council has allocated $10,000 for housing demo. Basically $10,000 will allow you to tear down at best 2 homes per year.
In my opinion, that fund needs at least $100,000 per year for the next 5 years. That would allow the City to tear down 15-20 substandard homes per year. Drive around there are plenty of vacant, substandard homes one could find in 10 minutes.
The policy in the past has been that once a home is torn down a lien is put against the property for the amount of the demo and usually you will also find there are past dues property taxes as well.
So when you start adding up the demo fee and unpaid taxes you are left with trying to re-coup $5000-$10,000 and the lots are maybe worth a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars at best.
So let's work with the taxing entities on the past due taxes, forget about ever collecting on the demo fee and sell the lots for $100. With the stipulations that new single family homes must be built within 18 months.
Also wave the building permit fees. Rental or owner occupied single family homes, I don't care. To be upfront and honest most of those lots will take years to sell and have someone commit to building a home, but would you rather see a falling down house or a vacant lot?
What would that mean to the tax rate? Probably going from .82 to .86.
But in the long run, if we can get 50-80 properties back on the tax roll with a $50,000 to $80,000 house AND if we have responsible council members, we could reduce the tax rate as we see new construction and grow.
RAISE TAXES! Something to think about.
**The cute house to the left is one of two similar homes built here in Commerce by RumCon. http://rumcon.com/