There are three things any reasonable person should want to know when making a major purchase. What exactly am I buying? How much does it cost? And if I’m financing, what is the cost over the life of the loan? Now as a government institution the Mercer Island School Board owes the citizens, at the very least, these things. A Truth in Lending document, if you will.
So far they’ve provided us only one of these things, the . They’ve given us an idea of what they intend to buy, but the bond (actually authorization to buy a series of bonds over several years) gives authority to the school board to do something completely different. As far as financing costs, they’ve made very little readily available to the general public about the assumptions they’ve used to predict tax payer costs.
Would you make a major purchase like a home or a car with this kind of information? Of course you wouldn’t, but the citizens of Mercer Island are being asked to do just that!
What the school board should publish is an anticipated schedule of payments a homeowner will have to pay if they stay in their home both with the bond and without for the duration of the bonds and the underlying assumptions used. They didn’t. That leaves busy regular citizens the task of trying to uncover these details in sleuth-like fashion, something we shouldn’t have to do.
Some of the pertinent information you’ll find when digging is (you’ll have to track down a copy of the ):
- The tax payments for this bond jump dramatically after the third year — nearly double if you're living in the same house and escalate thereafter.
- The financing assumes property valuations will increase 2.5%/yr meaning a homeowner will face a minimum 2.5% average annual increase in local school taxes.
- The school board can choose to do something totally different with these funds.
- 2010 US Census data indicate MI populations of younger children
- The district population peaked in 2000-2001 with nearly 150 more students than today
So what does this mean in terms of just the local portion of your school taxes ? A family continuing to live in the same the first year increasing steadily to over $6,600 by the time the bonds are paid off. Of these amounts, the proposed measure accounts somewhere between $1300 and $1800 each year (excepting the first three years where the amount is set at about $700 - the teaser-tax) (excepting the first three years where the amount is set at about $700 - the teaser-tax) (Ed. Note: Please see the attached document to the right of the letter for the supporting document, created by Northwest Securities).
It is the duty of the school board to freely publish such information so we can make informed decisions. We deserve better than the campaign style piece mailed at taxpayer expense. Send all of us the schedule of payments we can expect if we continue to live in our homes.