|WHY CAROLYN IS RUNNING|
Carolyn made a decision to run for council due to the following concerns:
- Financial health of our city
- Continued proliferation of student housing that eventually becomes high-density family units that put enormous financial stress on our city budget and school buildings
- The city’s ability to finance additional money for future projects or emergencies
- The increasing tax responsibility on our young families, senior citizens and small businesses
Fiscal Responsibility and smart growth has to happen, NOW!
It is time to critically examine unnecessary and extravagant spending. Voters deserve prudent leaders who will guard taxpayer dollars. Our future depends upon it. This type of leadership is not easy, but is absolutely necessary for the city to remain solvent.
According to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development report on fiscal stress of localities:
- HARRISONBURG IS ONE OF THE MOST FISCALLY STRESSED cities in Virginia.
- MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IS THE 37TH LOWEST AT $41,636 in 2016, . MEDIAN INCOME HAS RISEN ONLY 1.35% FROM 2007-2016.
According to the most recent UNITED WAY “ALICE” (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project, over 60% of Harrisonburg is considered working poor.
Our property taxes have increased 44% in six years. New stormwater fees and increased property assessments all add to our tax responsibility. Our meal tax increased from 10% to 12.3% and Council added a 5% admission tax in 2018 in order to balance its FY-2019 budget.
Borrowing $79M to build a second high school right away, would require exceeding our Financial Management Policies. The City financial advisors warn future borrowing may be jeopardized - they do not know what the rating agencies would do with the City's bond rating. Looking forward, realizing the possible difficulty in future funding for new projects and the ability to meet any other unexpected repairs or maintenance on critical city assets, the current Council made a most difficult decision to push the new high school building project to 2023.
Our city has become financially stressed along with many of its citizens.