My Turn: Measure U is good for us
October 23, 2008
Cmon, nobody likes to pay taxes. I dont like paying my heating bill in the winter either, but I do it to stay warm. The question is not, Do I want to pay taxes? but, What am I going to get for the taxes that I pay?In the case of Measure U, I think the answer is pretty compelling. For those who have ever taken a tour of the facilities that are covered by Measure U, thered be no argument that the classrooms at Truckee High School are old, in some cases unsafe, and not at all equipped to provide the modern and updated learning environment that is needed to prepare our children for life after high school. Thered be no argument that our elementary schools are bursting at the seams, and we need to find additional classroom space our kids. Thered be no argument that the traffic patterns at Truckee Elementary and Truckee High School are dangerous, and that a devastating accident could happen any day. And thered be no argument that the fields and play areas for both schools are woefully inadequate.Short of finding an extremely wealthy individual who wants to donate millions to the school district, the only way to make the kind of improvements that are needed is if we as a community all pitch in and approve a bond. We already pay $34 per $100,000 of assessed valuation to pay for the construction of Alder Creek Middle School and other improvements in the Truckee corridor, and that amount is $14 less than what we originally agreed to pay. Measure U would reinstate most of the difference, costing us $13 per $100,000 for 17 years. The majority of Truckee property owners would pay less than $100 a year to pay for these improvements. Thats less than 30 cents a day. Beginning in 2025, the previous bond will have been paid off and the full assessment of $48 per $100,000 would be applied to Measure U.So for $100, what do we get? Our children will have updated classrooms, equipped with the technology to prepare them for tomorrow. Our younger children will have a safe and nurturing environment to learn, grow, and play. Our kids can arrive at school, by bus or by carpool, without creating unreasonable traffic on Donner Pass Road, and in a manner that minimizes the possibility for a devastating accident. And our kids, and the entire community, will have access to sports fields that are safe and inviting, and usable well beyond the school day. And furthermore, it is estimated that 1,000 jobs will be created as a result of the bond. I often hear some people say, I dont have kids in school, so why should I pay to renovate our schools? The simple answer is that we all win when our children are educated. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the youngest members of our society are provided an education to ensure that they become productive members of our communities when they graduate from high school, or college, or trade school. Who do you think is going to pay for our social security when we leave the workforce? Who do you think is going to assume the leadership of our communities when we retire? Our children are, and we want to make sure that they are prepared to do this.So $100 a year today seems like a pretty good investment to me. Even if it is called a tax.
This column was co-written by Tom and Pam Hobday, Jim Porter, Breeze Cross, Don andamp; Lil Schaller, Perry Norris, Stefanie Olivieri, Nancy Gisko, Barb Wilkinson, Michelle Larson, Sidney Scott, Phyllis and Rick McConn, Kristi Darzynkiewicz, Phebe Bell, Ashley Holm, Bill Johnson and Pat Gibbons-Johnson, Jenny Fellows, and Aimee and Kane Schaller.