What Would Ryles Do…About City R.E. Tax Levy? (Updated)


Tonight the City Council is scheduled to vote (7:00 p.m., 505 Butler Place) on adopting the 2012 property tax levy, which City Staff and the Council’s COW (Committee Of the Whole) reduced from an anticipated 11% to a modest 2.15% – the lowest percentage increase in at least the past 10 years.  

The levy increase could have been reduced down to almost zero had the Council sustained Mayor Dave Schmidt’s veto of the questionable $290,000-plus expenditure for Phase I of the cop shop expansion/renovation.  But it didn’t, and that’s the Council’s lawful prerogative.

As a result, however, the passage of the 2.15% increase presents an interesting question of City finances that will be central issue in the upcoming mayoral race between Mayor Dave Schmidt and his only announced challenger: Larry Ryles.

According to Ryles’ website, taxes are his No. 1 issue.  He claims that he “will take the lead on getting annual tax increases down below the annual rate of inflation or CPI” – which he identifies as the 2% purportedly forecast by the Federal Reserve.  So when it comes to the 2.15% levy increase that will be voted on tonight, we are compelled to ask: “What would Ryles do” about this tax levy? 

Would he deem the 2.15% unacceptable because it is 0.15% above the forecast CPI?  If so, what would he cut from the budget – or what additional revenues would he raise – in order to cut the levy down to his 2% benchmark?

Good questions.  Too bad Ryles isn’t answering.

Which is interesting, because Ryles has repeatedly emphasized his “leadership” learned during 24 years in the military and 18 years in the insurance industry as another of the four main issues of his campaign.  He actually has a special “leadership” page on his website that notes how “Real leaders lead from the front.”  

Yet while this levy issue has been discussed by Schmidt and the Council for months, Ryles has been stone cold silent.  At a time when the Council and the taxpayers might benefit from whatever ideas or strategies Ryles might harbor on this issue, forget about leading “from the front.”  Ryles is MIA from the front, the rear, and the sides.

So we ask again: What would Ryles do? 

If this tax levy issue is any indication, the answer would appear to be: remain mute.

And hide.

Update (12.18.12)  The man who would be mayor, Larry Ryles, finally showed up at City Hall for last night’s Council meeting.  Actually, it seems that he showed up only for the “coin flip” (actually, a drawing) to determine whether his name or that of Mayor Dave Schmidt would be first on the ballot in April.  Schmidt won, and Ryles left – without sharing any of his thoughts or views on the 2.15% tax levy increase that was approved following his departure…or on any other City business on last night’s agenda.

This from the guy who claims he wants to be a “full-time” mayor?

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