A past resident on zoning
While visiting family in Morgan County, I have been following the zoning debate in the local papers. As someone who spent the first 18 years of my life in rural Morgan County, it has been interesting to hear the pros and cons of what a zoning ordinance will or won’t do if enacted.
There is one thing that I have found that I truly do not understand about all of the anti-zoning letters in The Morgan Messenger. They often state that zoning would cause property values to go up, but I’m not quite sure why this is a bad thing. Do they really want property values to decrease?
The opponents to zoning state that increased property values will mean increased property taxes. Apparently, they are not aware of the fact that your property tax rate is set by a combination of things — the value of the property plus the annual tax levy rate set by the county commissioners and the school board.
I have been told by county property owners that their property taxes have remained the same or, in some cases, increased, even though property values have been declining over the past couple of years.
Lower property values have not resulted in lower taxes. Why? Because your school board has continued to increase their levy rate, though the county has reduced its rate over the past two years.
So, if decreased property values haven’t resulted in decreased property taxes, it would seem that the reverse would also be true. Increased property values do not guarantee an increase in property taxes. Property owners should welcome an increase in their property values. If it means money in their pockets at the end of the day, why wouldn’t they be for it?
I’m still unclear about why zoning would necessarily increase property values, but if it does then that is just one more reason to vote in favor of the proposed zoning ordinance this November.
Santa Ana, California