Take Charge Of Your Own Local Tax Bill

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Two stories about Rim country residents who are determined to lower their tax bills appear on the front page of today's Roundup.

These stouthearted taxpayers serve as an example to all of us. Instead of sitting around and whining about higher taxes, lower government standards and lack of representation, they're storming the county courthouse and demanding fair treatment.

Whether their complaint is an inflated property valuation, or they're tired of financing a decade-old sewer assessment, the people in both stories are flesh-and-blood reminders that taxpayers are in charge, and that when approached properly, our system of government can work for the people.

These, however, are only the latest in a series of local stories about how residents can take action when they decide they aren't going to take it anymore.

Residents of Alpine Heights recently stood up to Town Hall over a street improvement district. If the residents had approved the district under what turned out to be no small amount of political pressure, they would have been hit with a $5,000 assessment for street and drainage improvements. A vote of the neighborhood was all it took to convince town leaders to shelve the idea.

More recently, when restaurant owners and patrons banded together to protest a proposed bed, board and booze levy that would have left diners paying a tax of 10 percent whenever they ate out, the town council beat a hasty and unanimous retreat.

Although County Assessor Dale Hom assures us there is no conspiracy against the Rim country, and that "the value of a home is what it is," we encourage local property owners to check it out for themselves.

By calling the county assessor's office with the addresses of comparable properties in your area, you can find out if your property is valued fairly. If it is not, file an appeal.

Also, by calling the county treasurer's office, you can find out just what it will take to get the sewer assessment monkey off your back.

Democratic government works best when residents exercise due vigilance.

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