Taxes are necessary for city services

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I   read recently where Ironton city leaders may lay off three firefighters to make ends meet on the city budget.

Where have we heard this “old song” before? This seems to be the go-to solution to the budget problems every time, but a layoff is no solution, because it doesn’t address the real problem of a lack of income from taxes.

The problem is, not everyone pays into the system. When I retired in 2010, I called the city income tax department to see about making arrangements to pay my taxes. The woman on the phone said she would be glad to help me, and, after getting my personal information, she told me that she would remove my name from their database and that I would no longer be required to pay city taxes.

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I was shocked! I was retired, and I obviously still had income, I just didn’t have a job, and therein lies the problem: you have too many people who enjoy the benefits of city services, and they pay nothing for them other than small fees on their water bills. It’s no wonder that the city seems to be in a perpetual budget crisis.

What is the solution? If you live in the city limits and benefit from city services, then you should be paying city taxes. Seems simple, but no one in city government wants to say this out loud, much less actually do something about it. I lived in Ironton most of my life, and this is something that past administrations have not addressed, and whether the new one will is doubtful, too.

I moved from Ironton to Mount Sterling, Kentucky to be near family almost three years ago, and there are no budget problems in the city here because everyone pays into the system, retired or not. I pay city and county taxes based on real estate valuation, and there are fees added to my car insurance premiums that go to the city, also.

Like anyone, I don’t like paying taxes, but you know what? When a major water line going through town needed replaced (not patched), it was replaced. My city water is never brown. Potholes get filled and streets get paved. Parks get new playground equipment, and the downtown area gets spruced up and painted on a regular basis. They recently tore down an old building and put in a dog park near a walking trail in town, and a new library is being built, all with my and others tax dollars. Yes, I hate paying taxes, but the old saying, “You get what you pay for” applies here.

Now the question is, will the Ironton city leaders fix the problem this time, or continue to ignore it, hoping it will go away?

Jim Hannon
Mount Sterling, Kentucky