Thursday, October 29, 2020

Taxes: A Bargain?

 

 

The last few years have been tough as almost the entire world plunged into recession. Unemployment rates are up; property values are down. Some families lost their savings. 55 million Americans are living under the poverty line. Some pensions vanished as companies plunged into bankruptcy or complete failure. However, even though the recession is technically over and corporations are getting back into the hiring mode, everyone is concerned about taxes.

What does this all mean for Marco Islanders? As the City of Marco Island moves into 2011 there have been significant changes in procedures and policies of the city government together with limitations on expenditures. Are the changes important? The answer is a flat Yes. Those actions improve the speed and efficiency of city services without sharp increases in city taxes. In fact, in a difficult financial year, the city was able to put over $2 million into reserves.

Marco Island is a bargain. Any of us who have required emergency, police or fire services knows just how superb our first responders are. What they may not know is what a low price we pay, especially when compared to other communities in Collier County. Our millage rate for those services is lower by far than other communities in Collier County as well as the county itself. Marco Island’s millage rate, including debt, is 1.99; Collier County’s is 3.84; the public school system is 5.69.

Begin with the basics: understanding our tax bills. Probably not a single Marco Islander enjoys paying taxes. It’s very likely that resentment over paying taxes causes a lot of misunderstanding about how much taxpayers fork over to the City of Marco Island each year. Clear away the confusion simply by examining your own tax bill. If you read it carefully the facts leap out at you. The major chunk of our taxes goes to Collier County and the public school system. Some people look at their bills and (a) don’t understand them at all because they read only the bottom line and concentrate on their overall tax bill; (b) they have a preconception about the amount of taxes they pay to the City of Marco Island, and do not bother to analyze the bill and get the facts or; (c) they don’t care (believe it or not there are a few of those folks in town). The moral of the story is: don’t blame the City of Marco Island for your tax bill. The city has done a commendable job holding down expenses and taxes.

Here are a couple of examples:

• For the tax year 2010, a property with a market value of $415,000, and a taxable value of just over $290,000 produced a City of Marco Island tax of $550, or just over $46 a month.

• For the same tax year a property with a market value of $1,400,000 and a taxable value of about $731,000 produced a City of Marco Island tax of $1,380, or $115 a month.

• For all the troubles of recent years and concern about what lies ahead there’s a rainbow over Marco. Not only are we snow free in this most miserable of winters, but we live in a bargainer’s Paradise!

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