Letters to the Editor

Say no to Prop 1

I will be voting no on Prop 1 and all other requests for money from the City of Auburn, Valley Regional Fire Authority, King County Library System, Auburn School District, etc.

First of all, the City keeps spinning off its financial responsibilities to other or entirely new taxing entities. Back in the '90s it was the library, then six years ago it was the fire department. What is next? Our police department?

And every taxing entity wants as much money as possible from the taxpayers, whether they need it or not. It has been a constant barrage of requests for more and more money from the taxpayers.

The VRFA did not say specifically what it needs the money for. They just say they need it to maintain the current level of service. That is a catch-all phrase that avoids telling us just what they have been doing with our money. Where is the accountability?

Everybody always wants as much money as they can possibly get, but that certainly doesn't mean that they need it. And for those who don't already know, if you should actually need the VRFA, if you should have an accident, heart attack, etc., and they have to transport you to the hospital, that is a separate bill that you will be receiving.

Because our property values have gone down so much and because so many people don't actually see their property tax bill, they don't realize just how much our taxes have gone up in Auburn since the recession started.

In 2008, our assessed value on our home was $295,000. In 2012, it was assessed at $220,000. Our home has lost $75,000 in value and yet our taxes have only gone down about $30 a year. Watch out, Auburn residents because when home values increase as they are beginning to in other areas, your house payment, rent, property taxes are going to skyrocket.

Our mayor is very fond of telling us that only 14 percent of our taxes go to the City. My question to him is, "Why so much?" First of all, it is actually 14.35 percent, and secondly Federal Way is only 9.55 percent, Des Moines is 11.67 and Kent is 11.42. Why are we so much higher than our neighboring cities? What do we have that they don't have? Perhaps it is our downtown business area which, under the current leadership, has turned into the poster child for urban blight, opposed to Kent's vital, thriving downtown area.

Just what does the City do with our money these days? They no longer fund the library, the fire department, and apparently they don't do roads either. We have seen the City's retaliation and bully tactics when we stood up to them and said no on the road bond. They lowered the speed limits under the guise of preserving the roads. But it is really the City setting the stage to bring this issue back.

I have heard nothing from the mayor or any other taxing entities related to the City about what they are doing to cut costs and save the taxpayers money. The only thing they seem to know how to do is stretch out their collective hand, palm up, to the taxpayer.

– Richan Jenson

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