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12/03/2019

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Jimm Murray

I would agree that local governing boards share responsibility for most of the property tax assessment, and we should be more vigilant in expressing concerns to those officials.
However of the 17 entities that get money from my property taxes, 8 are school agencies(!), some are far, far away from where I live which makes no sense as to why they are dipping into my pocket. I can understand why I may pay LaVista school district, I can't understand why I pay into Springfield.

And I am not sure I have ever seen a widely distributed public notice as to when these 17 entities solicit public input into how much money they intend to take from all of us.

Laura Ebke

Mr. Murray,

You make an excellent point about transparency and the difficulty of widely distributed public notices.

As a former school board member (in Crete), I recall that we were required to designate one news outlet (the local newspaper) as the paper of record for purposes of posting public notices at our organizational meeting every year. Of course the public notices were posted on a page devoted to public notices, and people had to go looking to find them. I think most of the local entities probably abide by the letter of the law, however the spirit or intent of the law--for maximum transparency--is probably missing something.

There are probably low cost ways that school board (most school have websites) could advertise their meetings--through a banner at the top of their website so that people like you could go to the Springfield or LaVista Schools website, and see when their next meeting is without chasing it down. Of course many schools have that posted already--but it's not always easy to find, buried in a subpage of the "About the District" tab.

When it comes to the many other entities--NRDs, Historical Societies, etc., I think the challenge of finding out when they meet is probably even greater.

Stay tuned--we're looking for ways to improve public knowledge.

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