free webpage hit counter

Price and Value – Great Bend Tribune

“The price you pay is the value you get,” Warren Buffett likes to say. That line has been running through my head lately as my wife and I prepare to replace some flooring in our kitchen and living room.

We moved all the furniture out of the way and thought we could try to speed up the process and save some money by starting the demolition process ourselves. The floating floor we installed in the kitchen when we first moved in came off without a hitch. The linoleum below is a different story.

Actually, it turns out that there are two layers of vinyl wrap. After working up a sweat removing a small portion of the flooring that was atomically bonded to the subfloor, we decided the cost savings weren’t as valuable as we initially thought. We leave the rest to the professionals.

It’s a good reminder that price is only one side of the equation, and it’s hard to judge the utility of something by looking at half the calculation. I hope everyone keeps that in the back of their minds as budget season is in full swing for cities, counties and school districts.

In the coming weeks, most Kansans will likely receive letters from at least one of these governing bodies seeking to raise property taxes. These notices include the value of your property, the tax you paid in the last year and other information. The budget will also include the date, time and location of a public hearing where community members can give their input on the proposed tax increase.

Direct notices are relatively new and add an extra layer of transparency to the usual public notices published in the local newspaper and posted on government websites. Hopefully they will work as intended and encourage more public feedback on the budget. Whether it’s through people attending public hearings or having private conversations with county commissioners, city councilors or school board members, greater involvement in this process can help match taxes to the value of community-desired services.

I note that these conversations should be approached with some caution because the public hearing is at the end of the months-long process of creating the budget and setting tax rates. If, for some reason, you’re hoping for a higher tax increase than proposed, you’re out of luck because the maximum mill levy has already been established. But public pressure can still lower the levy and lower tax bills if elected officials are persuaded to do so.

Officials must strike a balance between the services the public wants at the price they are willing to pay. Desires are usually well-intentioned, reasonable, but they can be limitless. Appetite for tax increases is generally much lower, at least by the public.

When giving your opinion on the budget, keep the other side of the equation in mind. Cutting taxes is as popular as cutting services. Saving money on a new floor seems like a good idea until you’re on the floor with a pry bar trying to pull up two layers of linoleum. I have no doubt that some are willing to pay that price. On the other hand, I’ve discovered that getting the lowest possible bid isn’t always the greatest value.

“Insight” is a weekly column published by the Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural organization, whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service. Greg Doering is a writer and photographer at the Kansas Farm Bureau.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post This standard oil gas pump globe can command a premium price: today’s collections
Next post Senate lawmakers agree to Dems’ higher drug price controls