I got a letter this past week from a city resident who angrily accused us of trying to increase the city’s tax receipts by doing things that increase property values…
He is absolutely right.
The only realistic way to be able to both pay for the higher expenses that naturally happen over time and reduce millage rates in the city is to increase the value of the property within the city.
We went through a very tough period during the Great Recession and property values are just now starting to creep back up. During that period, we cut city services to the bone and some things suffered as a result.
Much like a family or business budget that is out of balance, there are only two ways to make ends meet: You have to either cut expenses or increase income. In the city’s case we worked hard to do a combination of the two.
After making some very painful cuts on the expense side, the last year or so have given us a bit of “breathing room” and we’ve taken the opportunity to see what we could do on the revenue side. The city has applied for, and received, a number of grants. These grants have allowed us to do more to spiff up the city than we would have been able to do otherwise. The Hacienda grant and the new Sims Park Playground grant are the most obvious of these grants. A grant we are receiving to fix up Orange Lake this fall is another.
The long term goal for both the Residences at Orange Lake and Main Street Landings is to boost the property values within the city.
Little things add up. The Beef O Brady’s on Main Street will have a much higher property value come January 1st than the decrepit former funeral home had last January 1st. That is just one example, but we have been seeing an influx of businesses into the city and that will ultimately drive up the value of the commercial properties they occupy.
Improvements in our parks and efforts to clean up our residential neighborhoods will give people a reason to consider moving to New Port Richey that will drive sales prices and property values up as well.
The residential parking ordinance, the ordinance that allows the city to cite property owners when the grass and other vegetation grows wild, the paint up / fix up grants, the front porch ordinance, and the city’s brand new urban agriculture ordinance are all steps we’ve taken to boost the “curb appeal” of residential properties within the city.
Ongoing efforts to fight crime, including rooting out the twin scourges of drugs and prostitution, will continue as well.
Will each one of these efforts be successful? Maybe not, but the city has plenty of experience in doing nothing and we know for a fact that doing nothing won’t change anything.
My guess is that most of the things we’ve started WILL have a positive impact on our city and the net result will be that we will see property values go up faster than the tepid rate that we saw this past year. As always, I’d love to hear what changes you think would make our city a better place.
Rob Marlowe, Mayor