KATIE ZERR: Same questions still cloud election

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People in Mobridge will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide the future of the Mobridge-Pollock School District Board of Education and the outdoor swimming pool project.

The school board election is fairly cut and dried. We will vote for the persons whom we feel will do the best job for this district and the students.

But there are a number of issues that are, muddying the waters so to speak, when it comes to the pool election.

First, with the situation concerning tax assessments, some area residents are still suffering from sticker shock after getting their assessments for the year. There have been residents who have been told somewhere along the line that the new assessments will hike their taxes according to the percent the assessment was raised. That is not necessarily true.

After requesting explanations from three people who make their living dealing with real estate, markets, assessments and taxes, the information from these experts should shine a bit of a light on what can be expected next year when the tax bills are received.

First of all, tax bills will not always follow the percentage of what the assessments were raised.

Just because a property’s value jumped by 35 percent does not mean the tax bill will follow suit. It just means the value of the property jumped by that percentage. That is driven by the market.

It means if the owner were to sell the property, that is what it is worth to the buyer, according to the current assessment.

Next, the county assessor does not yet know what percent of the assessed value of the county will be used to set the property taxes. Since the state sets that, we won’t know until next year.

Third, there is a set mil levy that is a used in the tax formula. That mil levy caps what the taxpayers will pay on their property. So if the value of property in the county is increased, the mil levy may actually decrease.

And lastly, the county will probably be asking for the same amount of money to be paid in property taxes. Therefore, if the properties are valued fairly across the board, those who were paying more than their fair share of taxes should see a drop in their tax bills. Those whose properties have not kept current with the market will have to pay their fair share of the tax bill. That doesn’t necessarily mean a dramatic increase because of the increased value across the board.

It means that some of the property owners in the county who have skated for years while others have paid their share will now have to pay what they truly owe.

Once again, because the value of a property has increased, that does not mean the taxes will follow suit.

The second issue is a private citizen who once again is claiming he will build an indoor complex for public use and pay for the complex through donations and membership.

This citizen said he would have this complex completed this summer if the city grants his requests.

First of all, we have heard this song and dance before. A pool promised to be built last summer by this individual never came to fruition.

He again will be showing these plans to the public right before the election on Tuesday.

Even a truly trusting person has to find the timing of this major announcement suspicious.

Proclaiming he wants to do what is best for the community of Mobridge, this individual has waited until the very last minute to apply for the required permits. Is that in case the Mobridge Planning and Zoning Board has a question about his plan and delays the project until he gets the board the information they need to approve the plans? He has a built-in excuse why he is once again not following through with his promises.

There is an old saying about fooling people a second time.

Look around this community. There are three perfect examples of promises this businessman has made to the community with plans for these buildings. Each of those buildings now sits empty or nearly empty.

Let’s not be fooled again.

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