Council taxes citizens unnecessarily

To the editor:

The moment I have been anxiously awaiting has finally arrived. The end of year cash balance numbers for 2015 are in. Again for the sixth year in a row, I have once again accurately predicted the outcomes.

First of all, the county council has outdone itself in overtaxing county citizens. They have set another new record. In 2015, the County took in over $3.08 million more in property taxes, income taxes, local option income taxes and food and beverage taxes than it spent or needed.

In addition, it also issued an additional $2 million property tax-backed bond, which local property owners who are below their caps will be obliged to pay back — probably at the rate of $500,000 a year once you add in bond issuance, interests and management costs.

In other words, my fellow citizens of Hancock County, we have once again allowed ourselves to be snookered to the tune of another $5 million in unnecessary taxes.

I really shouldn’t include myself among those who got blindly snookered. I repeatedly hollered foul and did my darnedest to make the citizens of our community see the obvious light. But like they have done for over 20 years, they continue to choose to place their trust and confidence in the same people with the same results.

Good job, council, and a big thanks to the commissioners who had to authorize the bonding before the council could actually bond.

Just for the record, the county started year 2015 with cash balances in its general, adjusted gross income tax, economic development income tax, capital development, public safety, rainy day and food and beverage funds totaling over $13.8 million. It ended the year with a balance totaling in excess of $16.9 million. That’s $3 million in overtaxing in two consecutive years without counting the proceeds from bonds.

The fiscal policies and practices demonstrated by our current county council reduce the disposable incomes our households have, stifle local economic activity and make absolutely no sense in terms of attracting and retaining people with higher incomes and businesses offering higher-paying jobs.

It’s no wonder Hancock County is 20 years behind Hamilton, Hendricks and Marion counties when it comes to those things that make national and global investors stop and take note of communities as potential sites for doing and locating businesses.

The 2016 county council primaries will provide opportunities for much-needed change. The choices will be yours to make. Go with the old, and you’ll surely get the same old results. For me, it’s out with old and in with the new.

John Priore

Blue River Township Board member