I would like to present my view on the V.I. property revaluation from the eyes of a simple working man. We have many such middle to lower income range working people residing on St. John.
The present property revaluation system that St. John is being presented with is totally contrary to the long-held governmental position that St. Thomas-St. John is one entity. Why now in the face of property revaluation should St. John be asked to pay more than four times the amount of the St. Thomas assessment rate? As with any taxation system, the citizens expect to receive benefits from taxation. Does the government’s new plan suggest that St. John residents will now receive four times the benefits that St. Thomas residents receive?
Since I arrived on St. John in 1984 with my young family, the common practice of the V.I. government has been to trickle down benefits to St. John like left over scraps. To date we have not been important enough to warrant our own governmental representation. If that is the government’s prevailing attitude toward St. John, why should we not be combined in the St. Thomas property revaluation process? This can be corrected by adding our joint St. Thomas-St. John property values and dividing by the St. Thomas-St. John combined population figure.
Another point of concern is the three-year database that was used to estimate our new property values. It did not have a broad enough time base to provide a valid adjudication. If the database studied a 10-year period of time, we would have a more realistic view of the changes that have taken place on our islands. Once again, St. John should not be penalized for having a small population consisting of a very financially diverse group of people. That same financial diversity exists on St. Thomas and St. Croix. Because their property revaluation is calculated by their much greater populations, individuals on their islands receive a more equitable individual property tax rate.
The proposed V.I. property revaluation threatens St. John’s entire way of life. I strongly urge all St. Johnians to stand up and be heard. This is not a time to let the other guy do it! This is a time for action!