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Put property assessments first

Council should discuss property assessments before any other budget items, Committee of Seventy says.

The Committee of Seventy has found a way to make sure this year's city budget debate gets off to a lively start. The voter watchdog group is recommending that City Council "focus on the complicated and contentious issues surrounding property assessments and real estate taxes at the start of its annual hearings on the city's budget."

In a news release, Seventy's President and CEO Zack Stalberg, argued that getting answers on the initiative early would help keep AVI questions from creeping into spending discussions with city department heads over several weeks of public budget hearings, which normally begin in late March.

"Taxpayers need to know how much revenue new property taxes will bring in, what their share will be and which measures Council has in mind to ease their pain," Stalberg said. "Spreading out the debate over the six or seven weeks of budget hearings will only intensify their confusion and fears."

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