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Letter: Residents with trashy yards have advantage on tax rolls

I read the 2017-2018 secured assessment roll article in the Jan. 13th newspaper with interest, as it has been a longtime discord with the approach of market value assessment. As every real estate agent will quantify, aesthetics is a major driver of market value. Thus, people that have trashy yards, unsightly and unkempt property, get a huge benefit over those that keep their property maintained and aesthetically appealing and are greatly penalized because their properties are assessed at a higher rate.

I tried to address this inadequacy numerous times as the mayor one term and the deputy mayor two terms over a twelve-year period in the city of SeaTac, Washington. When we incorporated the city, we became heir to a $4 million a year parking tax derived from the SeaTac International Airport being located in the center of the city.

My desire was to use part of this tax windfall to promote incentives for keeping citizens’ properties maintained and aesthetically pleasing without being penalized by the county auditor by using a portion of the parking tax and get matching tax relief from the county based on a tax incentive-based program. They had many excuses, such as property rights, but the major discourse was that bureaucratic liberal mentality always prevailed, with a pat answer “because it may be seen as an advantage to the rich and disadvantage to the less affluent.” My contention of “since when did a lack of money justify a junkyard in residential neighborhoods” fell on deaf ears as I presume likely would be the case here. Either way, I am happy to now live in Pahrump and even more so to be out of politics.

Gene Fisher

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