I was taken aback by the Sept. 6, article titled “Cedar Rapids proposes tax increases with 10-year plan to pay for flood control.” The city plans to raise the residential property tax rate by 22 cents per $1,000 of property valuation each year for 10 years.
As noted, that results in about $18 of additional tax in the first year for a $150,000 home. Over 10 years, it accumulates to a total outlay of about $1,000, assuming flat valuation over that time frame. With 3 percent annual valuation escalation, it would change to about $1,200 over 10 years. For a $300,000 home, the 10-year totals are $2,000 (flat valuation) and $2,400 (3 percent escalation).
A follow-on Gazette editorial titled “City has pricey plan to pay for Cedar Rapids flood protection” rightly questions whether all options really have been considered to walk the right line between risk and property owner financial burden.
For example, why not use state/federal money already secured to build a partial system that could be augmented with temporary protection as needed? A design that initially protects the most vulnerable areas should reduce the cost of any additional temporary protection and the permanent portion could be extended over time as conditions warrant.
If the city is determined that the only way of implementing flood control is to raise our property taxes by 14 percent over a 10 year period, then they should at least make it a ballot issue to measure public support.