During my six years as an Alder there have been major changes in our communities. Some are immediately visible, such as the reconstruction of the EMCC or the many new buildings at Truax Homes. Other changes are harder to put your finger on such as the slow increase in housing costs for both renters and homeowners. Home owners become acutely aware of the increase in property values when they see their property taxes jump. The inability to relieve the unfair burden of property taxes on lower income individuals and families has been my greatest frustration over the six years.
State laws require the city to tax a home worth $200,000 the same amount whether the owners earn $150,000 per year or $15,000 and living on Social Security. If the resident is 65 or over and have limited assets, the City and County can assist through delaying payment until the house is sold. https://www.cityofmadison.com/dpced/economicdevelopment/reverse-mortgage-loan/1737/
As this is my last column for the EMCC newsletter, I want to thank my friends at the EMCC and the community they serve for the opportunity to serve on the Madison Common Council. While I must admit, service on the Common Council has usually not been “fun”, it has been a rewarding experience. I’ve learned about many subjects of which I previously no knowledge on topics ranging from stormwater to commercial financing. I’ve had the opportunity to help individuals and organizations when they might feel stymied by the city or treated unfairly.
Most of all, I’ve met people who are helping their neighbors in small ways such as shoveling their sidewalk. And many police and firefighters for whom my respect and gratitude has only grown as I have worked with them.
These actions, small and perhaps not noticeable and the later, large and heroic are the ingredients that make all the parts of the community whole. If you haven’t had the pleasure of helping even in some small way you can do it by saying, “Can I help?” If you are already doing it, Thank you!