Friday, January 21, 2011

No new taxes, but lots of new costs

I just came back from the hardware store where I bought my second 50-lb. bag of salt, $21.99 per bag plus tax.

I have put no salt on the garage apron next to the alley, none on the sidewalk to the garage, a little bit on the sidewalk around the house, practically none on the front walk and steps.  I have put almost all the previous salt on the public sidewalk in attempt to get rid of the ice buildup from the street snow plowed on the sidewalk.

Now let's put some perspective on taxes and costs.  Our real estate taxes to the city are about $330, half what we pay to the county and about two-thirds what we pay to the school district.  The city taxes are what many people complain about the most.

Let's see if I can figure out Duluth's 2009 financial report correctly.  From the summary of revenues, expenses, and changes in net assets, page 17, Duluth spent 124.942 million dollars of which Public Works spent 7.616 million.  That's six percent of the city budget, or I paid far less than $20 per year for snow removal by the city.

But I've personally paid over $40 in 2011 for snow reduction.  I've spent many hours working on snow reduction, and there is still much to go.

I assume the city could keep my walk practically clear for far less money and in less time than I have.  But that would mean I would have to pay more taxes.  So, it is a good thing I'm paying more out of pocket for a bit of service than I would pay in taxes for more service.

I think I'll go have a cup of tea.