Fat and Happy County Critters

I attended a meeting of Ward III Neighbors the other day. There were about twenty people there, mostly representatives of neighborhood associations. There were three speakers representing the government of Pima County – County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry, and Supervisors Richard Elias and Sharon Bronson. There was no agenda for the meeting. The County folks took questions on any and all topics.

There was something unnerving about the speakers. They seemed awfully laid-back, as if they had not a care in the world. They were happy to speak, and they had no concern over the direction of the conversation. Now, I don’t know how many of these things you’ve attended, but I’ll tell ya, politicians are never carefree when speaking to constituents. Even after an election day victory, there is still some left-over energy, and fertilizer to be shoveled.

Imagine President Clinton with a nose full of toot, a pair of sixteen year old twins under his desk, and a fist full of three hundred thousand dollar checks from his overseas speaking engagements, and you’ll get the idea.

It took about an hour of smiling discussions of the Regional Transportation Plan, the upcoming bond election to fund new psychiatric facilities at Kino Hospital, and Richard Elias taking a cheap shot at Randy Graff (then explaining that he did not want to take cheap shots at anyone), before they slid into the source of their euphoria.

The politicos freely admitted that the recent sharp rise in residential property values has led to an increase in valuations, which will lead to huge increases in property tax revenues – without any new taxes or increases in rates! Dang! It just does not get any better for an elected official or administrator! Suddenly, without having to lift a finger, they get a big pile of money without any pesky constituents bugging them about it.

I was tempted to raise my hand and ask if anyone in the county, or anywhere else, thought of lowering the tax rates to keep the revenues the same and avoid this major tax increase…but…they looked so happy, so contented sitting there, I just didn’t have the heart to rain on their parade.