A recent article reported the City of Pocatello’s levy rate is falling by 15.47%. This was presented as though it was somehow a gift to the citizens. The current levy rate at 0.0115 is expected to drop to 0.0097 — a savings of about $1.80 per thousand dollars or about $180 on a $200,000 home ($100,000 taxable value after exemption).

However, since the average assessment increase is reported to be in the 25%-30% range, a $200,000 (taxable value of $100,000) in 2018 would now be valued at $260,000 (assuming 30% increase) and have a taxable value of $160,000. So, in this example, the 2018 City taxes were $1150.91 (0.011509147 levy) and in 2019 would be approximately $1552 (0.0097) — a $401.09 increase (34.8%). That’s just one taxing entity.

What matters to me isn’t the percentage of decrease in a levy rate, but my total out-of-pocket cost. And, since I’m anticipating a tax increase of about 34%, half of which will be due in December, it’s natural to examine the spending of those in charge of setting the tax rates. Spending matters and it’s every bit as much the outrage as the assessed value increases.

In the 5 years between FY2015-FY2020, the City of Pocatello budget increased $23,094,766 (from $105,530,859 to $128,625,625) — a 21.8% increase. In the 4 years between 2015 and 2019, the County budget grew $11,230,395 (from $54,808,425 to $66,038,820) — a 20.5% increase. By the way, the proposed Clerk’s 2020 budget has recommended an increase of $5,570,848 raising the County’s budget to $71,609,668 if approved.

Not to be outdone, in the 5 years between the 2014-2015 budget and 2019-2020 budget, the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District increased its budget by $29,429,002 (from $99,910,375 to $129,339,377) — a 29.4% increase. Just this last year, SD25 approved its 2018-2019 budget at $119,765,364. The actual ending budget was $126,218,040 — $6,452,676 more than originally approved. Their FY2020 budget is a $9,574,013 increase over last year’s approved budget.

These yearly increases are in the millions! I don’t know anyone who received a 20-30% increase in their income over the course of the last 4-5 years, do you? There are multiple reasons to support the recall, but ultimately the recall is about sending a message — the public has had enough. No longer will we stand by silently while our pockets are pilfered and the public is largely disregarded. Enough is enough. Support the RECALL effort. Volunteer. For information, visit the Pocatello/Bannock County Homeowners Alliance Facebook page.

Heather Disselkoen,

Pocatello