Help me justify $4,000/year in property taxes!!??

Actually it`s $4,200 per year. We move in the second week of August.

Cripes.

Anyway, what should I expect to have provided as services from the city in return for this rather large sum. Don`t forget, this is in addition to the sales taxes wich I also get to pay when I visit the store, the petro-mart, and the x number of other things I buy locally.

Lets say I had to privately acquire all the services the city would normally provide to its tax payers.
This is where I need help. I don`t know what goes on behind the scenes and what the free market equivolent would be in dollars.

The few that I can think of;
public education (I plan on the kids going to a private school)
Police/security
Fire department
garbage pickup
road maintenance
city water/sewer (I think I will get billed for this so it probably wont apply)
city government
Library

What else?

Let`s try to be creative and come up with some numbers to add together to get a fictitious “real” cost.
I guess most of the things could be figured out by what the department costs to run on an annual basis and then divide by the tax-paying population.
Here are the demographics for the city in which I live. Also, (Greenfield.com )

My home is averagely priced. So we could say there are 16,203 households. Assuming they are all seperate lots and pay about $4,000 per year, that equals $64,812,000. Just in property tax money.

If we do some reverse type calulations, we can figure out what, for instance, the FD costs per person to retain. Say the FD uses $2.5 million(?) of the total budget (I have no idea what the budget is, couldnt find it on the net). That would be $154 per household. Police at $8.5 million(?) equals $524 per year. Then we have to balance these numbers against what it would cost to privately acquire said services. Im looking for these types of numbers but as close to reality as possible.

BTW this isn`t a tax rant but more or less an excersize in futility. Or for fun. Whichever way you wanna to look at it.

Ah the joys of living in Wisconsin. I hear it from relatives from time to time. Let’s see… I think it’s to pay the guy to remove all that white crap all winter long :smiley:

Well don’t forget all the added bonuses. Your property taxes help keep:

  1. Political cronies, lawl consultants and do nothing bureaucrats employed.
  2. Pay legal judgements and lawsuits brought on by slip and fall attorneys
  3. Important sevices like Video tapes at the local library and Street Sweepers that disperse (as opposed to actually pick up) dirt, sand and leaves in the gutter.

Ok. I’ll stop. I guess it is a rant

Aside from the cost to retain each person in the FD and PD don’t forget their equipment, training and retraining, and facilities (Bond payments).

Garbagemen get paid too. They have trucks and a place to fix their fidgity machines. Does your city have it’s own dump or do they have to pay the county to use theirs?

Don’t forget the power bill for every public building, the street lights and the traffic lights.

Insurance for the public parks and ball fields. Payroll for the mayor and his staff, local court officers, and the various maintenance people.

New roads every so often, also paid by the issuance of bonds. Those pay 5-6% IIRC. This means that a $6 million project actually costs $6.36 million dollars. That would just about cover the cost of repaving one street, unless I’m way off.

Nickels and dimes.

Hey, I lured out a newbie… Welcome aboard MarkofT.
I`m pretty sure that all the costs associated with the various departments are included in the annual budgets. When the FD takes up $2.5 million that includes all the costs.
I think we use the county dump.

So, youre saying that $4,200 doesnt sound unreasonable? Id like to know what the total city budget is. I know that the cities get some state and federal money too for various things. That and the revenue from the industries in the city. The corprate taxes have to be substantial. Id be willing to bet the total budget is around $100,000,000. That would mean that the city spends roughly $6,171 per household. That sounds way high. How`s my math??

That should have read “I`d be willing to bet the total tax intake is around $100,000,000. That would mean that the city gets roughly $6,171 per household.”

I’d be glad if my property taxes went down that low. Especially since we have our own well, private garbage pickup, no sidewalks, and a volunteer fire department. Not that I’m complaining, I like my neighborhood just fine.

How are public schools financed where you are? There’s a community responsibility, I think, to help provide certain services for everyone, regardless of whether I, personally, use them or not. Examples are public parks, playgrounds, senior citizens’ services, libraries, schools, and some basic health department services. (I’d rather own than borrow books, for example, so I don’t use the local library much. I’m glad it’s there, though.) However, some of these are overly-reliant on property taxes as opposed to other means of financing, which isn’t really fair to people who retire, for example.

Is $4200 your entire property tax bill or just the city’s?

(I bet there are entries for other political entities, like the county, school districts, etc. My tax bill has about 10 line items.)

Out here anyway, cost of the house/or county appraisal value, plus cost/appraisal value of land/lot play into it. I live in the county, so I pay separately for garbage, water, and sewer service. BUT…my property taxes include school bonds/levies, fire dept, surface water runoff charge and a couple of other things. In addition, if you live (at least out here) in an area where there is new development going on, you are paying for that as well, because your property values have supposedly gone up.

Frankly, I think the system they use here is not correct and we see our property taxes go up astronomically every year. That’s just my own opinion, though.

Only $4200?

Hope that helps a little.

Greenfield huh? That’s where my wife grew up. I live in New Berlin myself. Average middle class home. My property taxes are $5500 a year.

Water and sewer are paid for separately. And garbage pickup is paid separately to a private firm.

The vast majority of the tax money goes to the public school system. In your case, since you plan on sending your kids to a private school, it is money you’re spending without any direct benefit. To be fair however, a good public school system enhances the neighborhood, and by extension, the value of your home.
Although it’ll probably go up even further now that we’re going to buy water from the City of Milwaukee.

My property bill is easily another thousand more than that. To pour lemon juice on the paper cut, since I live on a private street (that people seem to careen down anyway) the city will not fix potholes or mend sidewalks. Guess who gets to do that? Yup, me.

Schools: Even if you have no kids in the schools, you want the other kids to be in school and be building their futures.

Beats having all the 17-year-olds hanging around idle and coming up with ways to entertain themselves.

Government is what we get together to do voluntarily (pause for audience laughter) such as building roads, getting all the young educated, feeding the helpless…

Any other model leads to problems.

This model makes you realize that you have to be involved, in the getting together and agreeing on what is wanted and what is not wanted, and what the standards are. Voting is a minimum.

Well said, Mary. Sure, lots of people pay school taxes and never use them. I pay for lots of roads I’ll never drive on, too.

Don’t forget about the keg at all the cop parties and council meetings that comes out of the slush fund of your taxes :slight_smile:

Im really not complaining about the taxes. One of the reasons we didnt buy in New Berlin or Franklin was the reason Algernon stated. Too high. I live in Franklin now and it seems that you could own a trailer on a 20x40 lot and still pay over $5,000 in property taxes.
I like to hear others mention that $4,200 is low, that makes me feel much better.:smiley:

Anyway, it sounds like everyone is in agreement that they feel that their property taxes are fair. I was still wondering how much it would cost to replicate the services of the city. Im thinking it would cost more than the $4,200 for equivalent private services. Or maybe not, since a lot of things would be eliminated or cut back. Im just wondering how much more or less.

Our town publishes an annual report that goes into great detail about how much money the town collects and what it spends it on. Maybe your new town/city does that too. We pay $4200 per year and it seems like a bargain once you see how much it costs just to run the schools. Luckily, we have good schools so our tax money will be put to good use educating our kids.

When you include security don’t forget that after the police capture a criminal that a trial and a jail for the convicted is also paid for by taxpayers.

Unless you want to provide a trial for the people your security force catches and then keep them in your basement and feed them forever.

Also remember that businesses also pay property taxes. Your original figures seemed to be based on just home owners.

$5600 per year, and I believe 60% is for schools.