For the Mohave County Board of Supervisors hearing on July 5, 2011 at the Mohave County Administration Building in Kingman, AZ on the proposed property tax increase of possibly 24% I had a short statement prepared to read to the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Gary Watson.
Supervisor Gary Watson had to act as Chairman as the elected Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Buster Johnson didn’t even bother to show up to the hearing to make some phone calls and simply listened in on the hearing.
My name is Elmer Whittaker, W-H-I-T-T-A-K-E-R .
I am a property and business owner from Golden Valley.
My house and property has lost 40% of its value alone in the past year.
I am strictly opposed to ANY tax increase in property tax in Mohave County.
Any increase in property tax would only add insult to injury, to those who already lost more than half of the value of their property.
I cannot see how such a measure could be justifiable given the property value losses and the current economy. I don’t think that the people of Mohave County can bear another tax increase.
The County simply needs to cut down on spending to make up for less tax revenues.
Before my name was called to speak I witnessed a speaker who asked the Board of Supervisors straight out if they would increase the property tax in Mohave County. This rather justified question however seemed so bothersome to presiding BOS Chairman Gary Watson that he simply cut the speaker off claiming that he was out of time to speak, although he had more than 15 seconds left, just so he wouldn’t have to answer his question.
The speaker had to return to his seat frustrated and without having received an answer to his question.
To my utter surprise none of the following speakers bothered to ask the same question which obviously was so bothersome to Chairman Gary Watson.
While Mr. Watson might have gotten away with his cheap trick in avoiding answering the bothersome question on a regular day, he obviously didn’t recognize me sitting in the front row.
Once my name was called to speak, I briefly introduced myself and then informed Mr. Watson, Mr. Sockwell and Mr. Johnson that I would not read my prepared statement, but instead asked the question which answer was denied the previous speaker.
Mr. Sockwell, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Watson I addressed the board, will you increase the property tax in Mohave County?
After a prolonged moment of complete silence from the entire Board of Supervisors I saw the need of informing them, that I was fully prepared to stand here at the podium for the entire 3 minutes of allotted speaking time, and would like an answer to my question.
Nervously fiddling around with his pen, Mr. Watson made several attempts of cheap tricks to avoid answering the questions, and so I had to repeat my question with a little more pressure for another 3 or 4 times.
Chairman Gary Watson finally gave in to a degree and replied that the property tax would not be increased by 24%.
“I take this as a yes, Mr. Watson”, I replied, at which point Mr. Watson finally caved in to the pressure of my “interrogation” and simply admitted with “yes, the property tax will be increased”, but not without pointing out that it was of course not the Board of Supervisors fault to having to increase the property tax but some oter enties like Mohave County Community College who made them do it.
Naturally, I immediately countered with the most interesting fact questioning the Board of Supervisors why they would hold a public hearing after the fact that the decision to increase the property tax and not before they made a decision. I frankly even forgot what irrelevant excuse Mr. Watson used to avoid answering this question.
It is my understanding that after Gary Watsons “confession” about the tax increase many of the around 150 people in the audience started to leave the charade.
Chairman Gary Watson was however so polite and respectful of offering me to meet with me after the hearing to discuss any concerns I might still have. However, I politely but determined declined his invitation.
As long as politicians in general are allowed to use cheap tricks and tactics like this unopposed and without consequences, there simply will be no change in national or local politics.
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