Mesa Unified School District Disregards Pleas from Mesa Property Owners & Raises Property Taxes

by Eddie Cook
On July 13, 2010, the Mesa Unified Public School Board held a special meeting to approve or disapprove the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget. This budget had to be submitted by July 13th. Many Mesa residents attended this meeting. George Zeigler, Chief Financial Officer, began with a presentation about the “Truth in Taxation.” I thought how funny for Mr. Zeigler to use this as his title for the presentation. Mr. Zeigler explained why there needed to be a 17% increase in the secondary property tax rate for Mesa Public Schools.
My summary of his logic was that he wants to maintain the current cash flow for the Mesa Public Schools while property values for residents are decreasing. Thus, while residents are forced to suffer a decrease in the values of their homes, the Schools do not intend to reduce their budgetary requirements and will instead demand 17% more from homeowners.
Mr. Zeigler also explained that the State of Arizona would be giving every home owner a rebate, therefore Mr. Zeigler said that it would be appropriate to raise the secondary property tax rate and that at the end of the day, the taxpayer would not notice any significant increase in their taxes. So, this means that Mesa property owners get a rebate and the Mesa School Board will take that money back from you to balance their budget. Just unbelievable. This statement alone shows the reason why Mesa property owners need to wake up and start removing these board members!
I asked Mr. Zeigler two questions:
1. Can you please provide a detail of all the projects for “Adjacent Ways” projects? None of the board members could provide this information. (How can you approve of the budget without discussing the projects and the cost of these projects? It was very clear to me the board did not want to provide full disclosure of these projects. How many of these projects are “must haves” verses “nice to haves"?)
2. Can you please provide what the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget would be if the secondary property tax rate was not increased? Again none of the board members were prepared to provide that information.
There were a number of Mesa residents who spoke against the tax increase. In fact not one individual who spoke was in favor of the tax increase. Yet, all four board members approved the proposed 2010-2011 fiscal year budget of $607,674,790.