Letter to the Editor: Voters can affect how much they pay in property taxes



A conundrum: Ridgefield growth, taxes and wealth transfer. There are many threads and posts that try to convince Ridgefield residents that the City has no control over our growth. There is some merit to that. It is also a fact, however, that the City does have some control over developers’ scope and timing of projects. Remember the gas station on Hillhurst that never happened? The point I am making here is that we residents do have a modicum of power over what happens in Ridgefield. When the City has the gas pedal on full throttle, the fuel for that expansion is taxes. That is where you and I come in.

We have some say over taxes. Taxes, rents, groceries, mortgages, gasoline, insurance, energy to heat our homes and just about everything you buy is on an inflationary tear. Many of our neighbors have been here for years and are on fixed incomes. Increases in property taxes hit all of us, but it impacts these folks the hardest. A major component of our property taxes are bonds and levies. This is where the taxpayer has a direct vote that affects your property taxes. Levies seek to be renewed periodically. Bonds run 21 years or more. They also stack on previous long-term bonds, bonds upon bonds. The developers get rich by developing raw land in Ridgefield.

The sad fact is that the impact fees they pay don’t come close to funding new schools and other infrastructure. That lands in our lap. This, therefore, simply becomes a wealth transfer from you and me to the developers. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Please consider these facts when you exercise the power of your vote. You have the final say.

James Sheppard