Opinion: A story about cutting taxes
When was the last time you heard of a taxing unit of government that was so efficiently run that it could consider returning some of its tax revenue back to taxpayers?
If the amount was only a very small portion of your tax bill, would you still consider it important? Would investing in environmental projects, such as solar energy, be an acceptable alternative use of reserves? At the May 7 public meeting of the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District (NSMAD) Board of Trustees, we will be considering these options. We welcome public input.
Over the last few years, the NSMAD has witnessed growth in its reserves. The NSMAD has always requested the maximum property tax revenue allowed by law. Yet, expenses have continued to run below revenue. At the end of April, reserves are estimated to surpass 1.5 times annual expenses.
The NSMAD Board of Trustees is undecided about what to do about the growth of reserves. A procedure exists by which the District could decline revenues from the second property tax installment and use reserves instead. On my property tax bill, I would save about $10. The Board is also considering various environmental capital projects for District headquarters, like solar energy panels or a permeable parking lot. Or the Board could do nothing but continue to watch expenses while requesting the legal limit in revenue.
The NSMAD is proud of its recent record as a small unit of government. After a scandalous period about 10 years ago, the NSMAD has been reformed into an effective and cost-effective agency combating mosquito borne disease and nuisance. In 2002, there were 158 cases of West Nile Virus in the District. The 2010 summer's mosquito counts were the worst since 2005, yet only 2 cases of WNV were reported, one of the lowest rates since record keeping began.
In addition to being effective, the NSMAD has been frugal. The number of full time employees has declined over the past few years. Employee health and retirement benefits have been modified to better reflect private sector standards. Capital maintenance has not been neglected. Equipment has been regularly updated and an investment in building insulation resulted in significant utilities savings.
The Trustees of the NSMAD are appointed, not elected. We welcome your feedback. Our next meeting is 9am, Saturday, May 7, at 117 Northfield Road, Northfield. Please visit us at http://www.nsmad.com for additional information.
North Shore Mosquito Abatement District