Here’s the quick and dirty breakdown (I’ve rounded the percentages):
- Board of County Commissioners: $666.82 (31%)
- Library: $113.91 (6%)
- School Board: $931.65 (46%)
- Water District: $32.14 (2%)
- Unincorporated Services: $31.88 (2%)
- Sheriff: $129.17 (6%)
- Fire Protection: $103.51 (5%)
So, the biggest amount seems, by far, to go to the School Board. I spend over $900.00 on public education– and being that I have no kids, I think that’s very generous of me. Of course, not realizing this until now is completely my own fault. Honestly, I was simply surprised that almost 50% of my property taxes goes to local public schools.
Those of us with businesses are very familiar with ROI. Basically, it’s an analysis of your financial return based on your investment. With government taxes, there’s almost no way to think about this in a numerical value– at least, not for me. The money I pay into the fire fund, to me had a very good ROI. When my neighbor’s house caught on fire, the Fire Department came quickly and prevented the fire from spreading to other homes. To me, this is an easily seen positive ROI.
The Sheriff’s fee is an easy ROI for me– but I’m biased. That being said, both fire and law enforcement have a rather low percentage of my tax bill– yet when the shit hits the fan, they respond. Both of these agencies provide 365 x 24 x 7 coverage, are very visible, and respond quickly (if not immediately) to a call for help. I pay less in a year for fire and law enforcement to provide me with 24/7 emergency service than I do for a single visit to the ER. Not bad when you think in those terms.
Schools are a completely different beast. My ROI doesn’t seem to be easily realized. But again, this is my own fault. I don’t think I can name one person who ran for the school board last month. You think that I should probably pay better attention to those controlling so much of my tax bill. I know that I am not going to be so lackadaisical any more.
Of course, I wonder if those leaders are as financially sound and responsible as Alachua County Commissioner Rodney Long.