I was about to usurp a Facebook friend’s wall for this, but thought better of it. No longer a village of Potsdam resident, she commented on yesterday’s vote to NOT dissolve the village; recalling that the tax burden was too much for her, but that the majority of current residents "apparently likes it this way."
Yes I do! Here’s why:
Tangibles: Most notably water & sewer. I don’t know what it costs to maintain one’s own water supply and waste disposal system, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know. I do know that they are NOT trouble-free. Lit streets where you can walk at night in safety on maintained sidewalks.
Intangibles (i.e., "variable" : Living in the village, I can practically walk most places. Even if I choose to drive (and I usually do), it’s not far. It costs me $0.25/mile to operate my car. (All gas and other expenses since I’ve owned it…there’s an app for that!) If I move, say, 5 miles away from where I work, putting me outside the village, that gives me a 10 mile commute. Figure a liberal 250 workdays a year, that’s $625 just getting back and forth to work, nevermind errands into town for life’s other essentials. Two people work? Two cars? Do the math. It adds up fast! A friend of mine lives about 25 miles from work. If it costs him the same amount to operate his vehicle ($0.25), he spends over $3,000 a year just going back and forth to work!
I could go on, but those things alone put me close to my Village tax bill all by themselves.
People who choose to locate, be it residentially or commercially, inside the Village do so because they ascribe value and benefit to being located there where there are sidewalks, trash and yard waste removal, where you are within ready walking distance of our shops and restaurants, and where you don’t have to maintain a well or a septic system. I know I don’t speak for everyone on this matter, but some of us are willing to pay for those benefits and don’t find our taxes unreasonable.
People who don’t want those benefits–those who don’t think it’s worth the added cost–locate outside the Village. They pay a different price in the way of relative inconvenience. Having to maintain those systems I listed themselves and having to get in their cars to do almost anything. It boils down to personal preference. No one is "right" or "wrong." Life for some people is likely cheaper outside the village, if you calculate "cheaper" by simply looking at tax bills. But I submit it’s way more complicated than that.