No one seems to be campaigning to pass more property taxes

Additional Education Aid, a new property tax, is the result of the district voting to change its schools to district-run charter schools
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CCUSD93 – Looked at a property tax bill lately? Add up all the elements associated with education, which include the following and associated tax rates per $100 of assessed valuation, which, depending on whether it is residential, commercial or vacant, will be assessed at 10 percent, 19 percent or 16 percent, respectively, of the Full Cash Value (FCV) for property owners within the Cave Creek Unified School District:

• Cave Creek Unified                   2.0457
• Cave Creek Unified Bonds         0.1099
• Community College Dist            1.2824
• Community College Dist Bonds   0.2363
• State Equalization Tax               0.5089
• Addl Educ Aid – Cave Creek       0.1946

That last item is new and may be the result of CCUSD93 voting to convert its schools to district-run charter schools so it can receive more money.

And whether or not that line item is for the conversion to charter schools, what is clear is there are new taxes on our property tax bills, and the additional money to convert to charter schools doesn’t come from the tooth fairy, it comes from property tax.

And, it looks like taxes for education, at least for property owners in Cave Creek, make up about 80 percent of the tax bill.

debbi burdickSuperintendent Debbi Burdick (l) recently sent out a press release about the upcoming bond election, in which Question 1 asks voters to change the voter authorized uses of bonds passed in 2000 rather than pay down the approximately $13 million outstanding balance with the $10 million deposited with the Maricopa County Treasurers Office.

That’s the $10 million the district was sued over when it recruited Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Dist. 15, to pass a special law that permitted the district to use that money, although illegally, for projects other than those authorized by voters.

The Goldwater Institute, on behalf of district taxpayers, sued and won, putting a halt to the district trying to override the will of voters.

And, while the district could have gone to the voters to ask them to repurpose that money prior to issuing those bonds, it waited until the last minute before the bonds would have expired with no time to hold an election.

Mark Warren, who is running for a four-year term on the governing board, was on the board back then and voted to issue the bonds for purposes which it no longer needed.

He was also a legislative liaison who met with Barto to get her to pass a special unconstitutional law to help get them out of a jam.

Citizens for Education and Home Values Committee (PAC) is campaigning to pass Question 1, although it appears the Question 1 part of its advertising is insignificant enough to perhaps not notice and mislead voters into thinking it’s in favor of both Question 1 and Question 2, which is the $30 million bond package with associated increases in taxes.

The PAC is funded primarily by James Lincoln, who contributed $3,000, and two PTOs, which donated $250 each, as of the latest campaign finance report.

Burdick’s press release to announce a “Community Bond Forum” wants very much to understate the impact on property tax bills by stating it will only increase the tax rate by approximately $0.12 per $100 of assessed value.

The voter Information Pamphlet spells out the actual impact the new taxes will have on residential, commercial, agricultural and vacant properties within the district.

For residential property, the pamphlet shows the estimated average annual cost per $100,000 of valuation, or $10,000 of assessed value, as $17 and for a home valued at $439,000 ($43,900 assessed value), the average FCV of an owner-occupied residence, at $74.63.

For commercial property, which is assessed at 19 percent of the FCV, the cost for a property valued at $648,000 ($123,141 assessed value), the average valuation of commercial properties, the estimated annual increase will be $209.34.

For a commercial property valued at $1 million ($190,000 assessed value) the estimated annual increase will be $323.

For agricultural and vacant land valued at $100,000 ($16,000 assessed value) the increase is estimated at $27.20.

For property valued at $116,238 ($18,598 assessed value), the average value of agricultural/vacant land, the estimated annual increase will be $31.62.

While the state of Arizona doesn’t allow impact fees for schools, it would seem to be getting the same result by taxing commercial and vacant properties for education, and at higher rates than residential, when no school children reside on those properties.

While the board approved both bond questions, Question 2 was approved by a 3-2 vote of the board, with governing board members Susan Clancy and Janet Busby dissenting.

And, while the district may need to make repairs to some of its facilities, it could have made those repairs with taxpayer money that were spent instead to expand facilities to accommodate a continuously dwindling enrollment.

Burdick and associate superintendents Kent Frison and Jana Miller will be hosting a community bond forum at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at Sonoran Trails Middle School, 5555 E. Pinnacle Vista, Phoenix.

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