Putting Taxpayers First

Property Taxes

For many years, the annual city budgets included automatic property tax increases.

City Hall likes to downplay the impact of city property taxes by saying city’s portion of your property tax bill is small. While it is true that the city’s share of your property tax bill is smaller than the School District and County portions, the city’s continual property tax increases do create a significant burden for you over time.

As a Council member, I helped lead the successful effort to separate property tax increases from the budget for a separate vote and additional scrutiny. And as Mayor, I brought forward a resolution to formalize a separate vote on Property Taxes. Although I am not categorically opposed to an increase when needed, I believe it’s a serious debate and a full discussion is required before raising your property taxes.

Rapid City Mayor Vetoes Property Tax Increase (8/24/2012)

Rapid City Journal Editorial Board: Mayor right to veto Property Tax increase (9/4/2012)

Rates and Fees

The Garbage Fraud case dragged on for a long time, and took a toll on a lot of people. The fraud was unfair to the honest customers and employees of the landfill, and the people of Rapid City took the biggest hit. You were forced to subsidize fraud for years.

Fish Garbage has confessed to fraud, and the city was able to recover some of the losses. More importantly, we were able to reduce your garbage rates by 8%. Checks and balances have now been put in place to prevent this kind of nonsense from happening again.

Fish Garbage confesses to fraud (9/5/2012)

Manure by any other name smells like fraud (9/10/2012)

Garbage rates to drop 8 percent in Rapid City (9/12/2012)

Manure helps City succeed in garbage fraud case (9/23/2012)

Tax Increment Financing

Several years ago, I helped lead the effort to reform Tax Increment Financing in Rapid City. The new process is much more transparent, and safeguards have been put in place to help keep TIF’s from paying for items that developers would normally have to pay for. One of the biggest victories in this reform process was putting an end to the 9% minimum interest rate the city taxpayers were being forced to pay developers. The interest rate is now tied to the prime rate for new TIF districts.

For the timeframe of 2011-2013,  at least 9 TIF’s are expiring which puts at least $400k directly back into the City’s general fund.