Taxes versus services — it’s the issue that pops its head up every year and one where it always appears there are no winners, or, in short, we never seem to get all that we want, or we pay more to get it. While we don’t tend to look beyond our own town, because, naturally, that is the one up close and personal to us, it’s a situation happening everywhere. Every year we are challenged with trying to accomplish services for the town within the parameters of the budget. If we don’t want to continue to raise taxes or endure assessments, the council needs to work consistently on ways to grow income within the town to meet these challenges — long-term planning. We can’t pay the same rate of taxes to cover increasing services or repair or build new infrastructure. As a town, we can’t spend what we don’t have and certainly can’t spend on future revenues if we don’t have a plan for how to increase those revenues.
In Palm Beach County, they are projecting the same deficits and trying to figure where the money will come from. As the commissioners there have also admitted, voting to increase revenue is “politically perilous and unpopular.” The county also faced the unfortunate increase in the cost of police enforcement, which is now 48 percent of its budget — sound familiar? For those who constantly encourage “unincorporation,” are you suggesting we just move from one entity struggling to stretch our dollars to another? You don’t think that those entities aren’t going to raise your taxes or assess when they, too, are short on their revenues?
When our tax bills arrive, we usually are just in sticker shock at the amount, but I often think not everyone takes the time to read where the taxes are going. There are a lot of line items on there, but what actually goes to the Town of Loxahatchee Groves is most likely a very small portion of that overall bill, even more so if you are an agricultural property. The water control district gets a much larger sum, but they are responsible for drainage, not the roads — the two don’t merge. The town can only do so much with the amount of money that those taxes produce, so we must become more creative as to ways to produce more income for the town. I, for one, want to explore and examine every avenue that could produce revenue for the town, and I would ask that you join me in that venture. Let’s just get beyond saying to get rid of management, as whether it is this company or another company and/or manager, you need someone to manage the day-to-day affairs of the town, and there will always be a cost for the service.
Let’s work together, let’s get creative in figuring out new revenue sources so we can repair the roads and culverts, and if any or all of this matters to you, please get out and vote this next election.
Joyce Batcheler, Loxahatchee Groves
Editor’s note: Ms. Batcheler is a declared candidate for Loxahatchee Groves Town Council, Seat 3.