Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Caesar's Money and the Common Good

A few days ago I got the most reliable Christmas missive in this fair city; the blue envelope from "Wayne F. Whittow City Treasurer". The envelope that holds the bill for the property taxes on the little anchor hold. This year, $1008.45. Even with our fair city's EZ no-interest monthly payment plan, it's going to be a little bit rough. [Wasn't so bad when I was still working and the bill was only about $600...... but they say property has appreciated in value over the years..... I bought the anchor hold for $15,000 seventeen years ago and now the assessment is a bit higher....]

But I've never been one to seriously gripe about the blue envelope. I've always known that I, and this entire community, gets very good value for the money Caesar collects in the taxes, making the fair city a proper place to live.

I appreciate having the garbage collected. Having the streets repaired and plowed and salted, even when they sometimes forget mine it's so little (most alleys are bigger). Having the fires extinguished, the medical emergencies attended to, and the hazardous materials and heavy rescue teams ready for action. Having the crimes investigated, the criminals arrested, tried by courts, kept in jail, and supervised by probation agents. Having safe clean water coming out of the taps, and having the sewage properly treated before it ends up in the lake. Having the children educated, whether their parents can do it or not. Having people to check that the fumes and dust from the tannery and the automobile shredder and the other industries in the neighborhood aren't toxic or overly obnoxious. And to tell the grocery store they have to clean up their dumpster's grease slick in the alley or else. And it all costs money.

And the quality of life would sink precipitously if we didn't have transit and libraries and museums and public parkland. All of which costs money, also. And --- I'm a retired city employee, providing service for the public good of this city. My income when I was working, and my pension now, is financed in large part by the collection from that blue envelope.

So, I've never seen any reason to be offended by having to pay my proper share of the taxes that the government bodies use to finance the services for the common good. I understand that if I want the infrastructure and services that the government provides, they need to be paid for. I've even, on the occasions over the decades that I've bespoken my alderman about additions and changes in services --- extending the transit to Brookfield Square, and south of College Ave to the WalMart, library hours on weekends, affordable housing trust fund, and so on --- made sure he knew that I knew that it might mean a few pennies more on the tax bill, and that I wouldn't bellyache about that, that the service would be well worth the pennies.

After all, it's not God's image on the coinage, it's deceased presidents' images. We need Caesar's services and enjoy the benefits of Caesar's services, we have to give over some of the cash. After all, governments have bills, also.


1 comment:

Mimi said...

I agree completely.