The work of Haines citizens and the Haines Borough Assembly to improve the local property tax assessment rubric is truly to be applauded. It’s very important work, but will probably create a larger administrative budget, including new borough staff. For example, the ad-hoc committee is advocating that systems used in “Anchorage, Kenai and Mat-Su” boroughs be adopted here—systems that involve more magic “tech,” undoubtedly meaning new software, annual fees, hardware, training, a work-station, flat screen, printer/scanner—and a skilled employee to run them. 

Modeling assessment and appeal procedures on Alaska’s largest boroughs may, or may not, yield more fairness, but it won’t be reducing anyone’s taxes. My guess is, that strategy will cost more money and bond yet another human being to another debilitating life at a new “work-station.” Please ponder where we might park another, bright-eyed techy? Perhaps, we’ll build that new administrative building sooner than later. How else will we house all the exciting work-stations diligently tending our “firehose”—the megabytes of free speech and “information” pouring in and out, daily. Please, can we modify our assessment system without creating new requirements for “tech,” staffing, and significant new yearly borough expense?

Burl Sheldon