Saturday, June 22, 2024

Levy makes sense

by Alice Biel
| May 1, 2024 2:00 AM

It’s easy to understand why people want to find a reason to vote no on the upcoming school levies. Everyone’s taxes are up, and everything is more expensive. So it can be tempting to believe it when people blame the rusted high school roof and the need for operations levies on “wasteful spending.” But as any home or car-owner knows, you can be 100% up-to-date on preventive maintenance, and sometimes stuff still breaks. Or you uncover one problem while trying to fix another. That’s what happened at the high school. As a result, we’re literally being asked whether we want to keep a roof over our kids’ heads or not. Unfortunately, voting “no” isn’t going to “send a message” to the school board—it’s going to send a message to the kids who fill the Community pages of this paper with stories of athletic, musical, and academic achievements each week. The operational levies are being driven by the same rising costs the rest of us are facing. As a school trustee, asking the taxpayers for more money is your absolute least-favorite thing. It’s not fun. You feel guilty even asking. Everyone is mad at you. But sometimes it’s unavoidable. So now it’s up to us to decide. On a $300K home, the high school building reserve (roof) levy would cost about $7 a month for two years. Passing all three levies would cost the same taxpayer about $10 a month for two years, and $3 a month the year after that. This is a town with a lot of civic pride. Where people will come out and cheer on the Wildcats, listen to a concert, or even attend graduation whether or not they have kids involved—we Bleed Blue. It’s always hard to decide to take money out of your own pocket. But showing our kids—and our community—that we’re willing to support them through this crisis is worth it.

Alice Biel

Columbia Falls