Cheney Free Press -

Mixing apples and oranges to increase taxes

Letter to the Editor


Last updated 12/3/2020 at 12:46pm

Are you not tired of elections? If not then here comes another new special election on Feb. 9, 2021. This one is to raise your taxes for the Cheney School District.

The last year of collection for the 3 year O&M(EP&O) Levy and two-year capital projects levy is 2021. The authority to collect a new levy against our property in 2022, 2023 and 2024 is therefore requiring a new approval thru a vote.

The existing capital projects levy was for specific projects which should be completed. This levy was not meant to be continual like a 21-year bond for new schools.

The three-year O&M levy with collection authority ending in 2021 is ending with a $7,000,000 property tax collection in 2021. The proposed new three-year O&M property tax authority to collect begins in 2022 with an amount of $8,700,000 which is a 24% increase in one year.

In order for the district to say that this huge increase is not really a huge increase, the new taxing authority proposal is to mix the existing three-year O&M levy and two-year specific capital projects levy into one continuous flowing levy. Instead of a $7,000,000 tax collection for O&M in 2021 standing alone, the retiring $2,189,000 capital project levy tax collection in 2021 is mixed in and it becomes $9,189,000, but now we have mixed apples and oranges. This is a clever way to increase the new O&M levy by 24% in one year.

In addition the new O&M levy is then increased by over 6% for each of the next two years. Bus ridership is down to 7.5%, buildings are empty, no extracurricular activities and enrollment is down and yet tax increases are proposed to be way above inflation. Why does it always have to be way over the inflation rate every time?

Bill Johns



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