I encourage all property tax payers in South Portland to support the bond issue for high school renovation. If you think voting no is a way to keep your taxes low, please consider: Parents with children in elementary grades are watching this vote closely. If this bond fails, those who can afford to move when the real estate market improves will likely go to surrounding communities who’ve done major secondary school upgrades. When that happens, real estate prices in South Portland will drop along with the level of property taxes once collected on them. That leaves behind a larger proportion of low income and elderly property owners who can least afford to cover the costs of services, costs that will not decrease.
At the City’s master plan forum held this summer, we learned:
1. South Portland has one of the oldest per capita populations in the state.
2. The percentage of property taxes paid by commercial properties has shrunk dramatically in recent years including those from The Maine Mall which has stiff regional competition and whose property taxes are based, in part, on sales.
This means that the residential side is already paying a larger share of the tax burden and will likely continue to do so but with lower income residents.
Interest rates are low, South Portland’s bond rating is at an all time high, and contractors are looking for work. Let’s bite the bullet and do this now before the problems and cost get worse.