October 14, 2016
It has been reported that the City of Auburn government will be asking its citizens to grant it Home Rule powers through a referendum on November 8, 2016.
The Capital Area REALTORS® (CAR) has strong reservations regarding the expansion of Home Rule authority to Auburn. With all due respect to the current municipal government, this extraordinary power would also transfer to future office-holders who might not be as judicious in the use of these powers. Besides taking the power away from the residents of the community, Home Rule powers would exempt the municipality from the present Property Tax Cap law which means the real estate tax levy could be increased without limits. This could also lead to eventual higher property taxes than the amount that property owners pay presently. With Home Rule power granted, local government would be able to incur even further debt. This could also result in higher property taxes. While we are sympathetic to the City’s desire to improve its services, we do not support these efforts to become a Home Rule unit due to the potentially enormous impact on property owners in Auburn.
CAR recognizes the need for local government to be able to operate and provide the best services available to its citizens and residents. State statutes provide a number of remedies to give municipalities flexibility in meeting the challenges they face without the need for the extraordinary power of Home Rule authority. As advocates for private property owners we would encourage the City to pursue this legal option which may be better suited for its circumstances. One of those remedies would be to pursue a Non-Home Rule municipal sales tax, subject to referendum approval.
CAR is a professional trade organization representing over 850 hundred members involved in all aspects of real estate in the Capital Area. REALTORS® assist individuals in buying and selling property as well as owning property in local communities and are strong advocates for private property rights.
John W. Klemm
Capital Area REALTORS