Letters to the Editor

Letter | Senior citizens will be severely affected by cost of school bond

As a resident of Mercer Island for the past 32 years — and a retired senior at age 79 — I am extremely concerned about the financial impact of the upcoming $200 million school bond, scheduled for a vote next month.

Most senior citizens are living on a steadily decreasing income, due to the near-zero percent interest policy of the Federal Reserve which has cut annual yields on IRAs and CDs from 5 percent to minus 2 percent when inflation is factored in. Against that background, any major increase in local taxes is bound to jeopardize the financial well-being of our fellow senior citizens and indeed force many of us to consider whether we can continue to afford to live on Mercer Island.

The projected cost to a homeowner with an assessed valuation of $950,000 will be approximately $3,400 per year* for just the school portion of the annual property tax. The bond also calls for buying land for a “sixth school,” but not the money to build that school, and for designing a master plan for the north campus “mega-block,” but not the money for any changes there. Clarity on costs to citizens is critical in our current economic climate. We do not know the cost of other proposals that may come from the city, including a new fire station or moving City Hall, or from King County, Sound Transit or others (ref. Citizens for Rational School Planning at www.no-mi-school-tear-down.com).

I am afraid that many senior citizens living on Mercer Island are unaware of the financial sacrifice that they might be forced to make due to the exorbitant cost of the bond. I hope they will join me in voting "no" on April 17.

Claus V. Jensen

*Based on MISD estimate of a $3.60 tax rate for 2013 in the event the bond issue is approved by the voters.

 

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