To the Editor:
I am coming up on my fifth moving-to-Warwick anniversary. One of the main reasons I chose Warwick was – and still is – our excellent public services. I knew that our good schools and libraries, high public safety services, and quality infrastructure would keep the value of my home high even during the ups and downs of the market. I also find it to be simply respe3ctable to live in a city that “works,” and from that I gain a satisfaction independent of real estate value.
As such, I must stand in disagreement with many of my fellow citizens organizing the car tax revolt. While they are certainly right to complain of the inequitable way in which the state (not the city) is assessing the value of vehicles, my heart is not with the sentiment that the city should be cutting services rather than seek the additional revenue. No one likes paying taxes, but our city services are very valuable, and every property and vehicle tax check we write maintains these vital functions that I fear we take for granted in the midst of tough times.
Money is tight. Five years ago, we could buy nicer cars, take vacations, dine out, buy new electronics, and generally enjoy ourselves as well as pay our taxes. Now, we find ourselves having to make harder decisions with our money. Municipal services are a top priority – more important than nice cars, vacations, dining out, and all the rest. The latter items can be reclaimed in better times, but once we let our city structure weaken, it is extremely hard to regain.
This past year, the only vacation I could afford was a four-day weekend. A couple of weeks before I was to go, I received my car tax bill, something I had not received for years due to the low value of my car. I could not completely swing both, so with disappointment, I shaved a day off of the weekend. A month or so later, I rode by Pilgrim High School, saw it abuzz with pre-back-to-school activity, and considered the vacation money I ended up paying to the city as money well spent. If I have to give up a vacation entirely next year to support what we have in this city, then so be it. Our education services, public safety, and infrastructure are extremely important. Times will get better, and when they do, I want to be glad that we did not let our city fall apart.