In case you want to know

In case you want to know

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The City of West Park continues to do a remarkable job with limited funding due to the efforts of our staff and citizens. Most homeowners know how much they pay in overall property taxes, but may not realize that only a small percentage per day per household goes to the City of West Park. So, what do you get for your money? Cities, municipalities, counties and school districts rely on property taxes to raise money for their budgets. Local governments then use the money they collect from property taxes to help fund the many public services they provide. However, the more money a local government spends, the higher the property tax bill goes to make up for any budget shortfalls. Funding the public school system accounts for a significant percentage of the money from local property taxes. Although, both the federal and state governments kick in to help foot the nation’s education bill, local school districts still rely heavily on property taxes for financial support. How much of a local community’s property taxes helps support schools within the district varies depending on the local government’s tax base.

Unfortunately, local governments that have less of a property tax base may collect less money to support the local school district even if they charge higher tax rates. A good chunk of the tax dollars you pay to your local government goes toward paying the salaries and benefits of public safety officers. Local public safety agencies also hire support personnel including the staff who take the 9-1-1 calls. Add to that the cost of maintaining police and fire stations and keeping police and fire vehicles on the road — all things a city needs to keep its public safety departments running. Since money from fees and fines isn’t enough to fund these services, city and municipal governments generally must raise property taxes if they need to hire more public safety workers, including police officers, firefighters and other emergency response workers. Money from property taxes also goes toward maintaining public streets and roadways. Property taxes pay for routine maintenance that ensures public safety on the roads. Maintenance includes making the necessary street light and traffic light repairs within city limits.

Although general maintenance also includes street cleaning, and patching potholes, sometimes tax dollars allocated for road maintenance are used to make improvements. Local governments often share with homeowners the cost of replacing sidewalks and curbs. In some taxing jurisdictions, property taxes pay for curbside garbage collection as long as the property is located within the city limits. Taxing districts sometimes add the fee to collect and dispose of trash to the property tax bill as a non-ad valorem assessment. A non-ad valorem tax is a special assessment that is not based on the property’s value, although you pay the fee for the special assessment at the same time you pay your property tax bill. From time to time, additional special assessments may be added to your property tax bill to help fund improvements to local bridges, water and sewer lines, storm drains or other improvements that benefit your property.

Here’s a short list of some of the services your City provides:
• Regulate construction, conduct inspections and enforce zoning ordinances
• Develop City budget and financial reports and monthly meetings
• Maintain open records
• Provide law and code enforcement
• Operate a municipal magistrate court for zoning issues and manage franchises for water/wastewater, solid waste/recycling, power and telecommunications services, coordinate with county, state and federal governments
• Devise emergency planning procedures, and execute emergency operations and disaster recovery (floods, roads blocked by fallen trees etc.)
• Administer permits (beverage, signage, building, tree cutting), comprehensive planning, communicate with citizens (website, newsletter, public notices, town halls, press releases), construct and repair roads; and maintain city owned properties.
• The City also employs staff members, elected officials, a treasurer, and a city attorney.
We do have volunteers who provide time and expertise to our advisory committees, parks and recreation activities, and who participate in other events. Some residents even dedicate time to helping our elderly neighbors. Thank you for helping the City of West Park be a beautiful place to live.


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