by Lisa Tome
Sandra Campbell still wants to move.
In September, 2016, Campbell announced that after living in Rising Sun for more than 30 years, she was being taxed out of town. The $384 debt service tax raised her mortgage more than $30 per month.
Nearly a year later, Campbell is planning to take her concerns to the Rising Sun town board at the September 12 town meeting.
When the tax was incepted in July, 2016, town administrator Calvin Bonenberger explained that it's a flat fee, a debt service tax used to pay past town debt.
Bonenberger said that is paying for past slip lining, the former sewer lagoon, and an old water line.
Last week, he said that problems with the tax have been resolved.
Bonenberger said in an email "As for the debt service tax, we found another property that needed to be exempted and we took care of that. We have fielded a few inquiries but they get resolved. For the most part, residents are familiar with what the charge is for and the previous charge that it replaced," said Bonenberger.
Campbell is more than familiar with the change. It impacted her mortgage again. Prior to the debt service tax, her mortgage was $708 per month. In 2016, it went up to $745. Her 2017 projected escrow is now $787.
She has since worked with her mortgage company to get the fee lowered. But she wants others to be aware of the issues caused by this tax. "I opted to keep the $37 on my mortgage (in 2016). And now it's going up again," said Campbell.
When the debt service tax was introduced by Bonenberger last year, he said it would be tax deductible for some people and could result in a cost savings. "He's (Bonenberger) not doing us a favor. Because mortgage companies take a portion of it in escrow. I was livid. How do we know the town won't increase it again," said Campbell.
"It's more frustrating thinking about people being duped. I was a customer service representative for years and I know how this works," said Campbell. She did the math and found that the $384 flat tax cost her that amount plus $456 on her mortgage. "I'm reaching out to people. I know I'm not the only one affected. People need to know they can question this (with their mortgage company)." She also said it takes time and effort and numerous phone calls to resolve the issue with a mortgage company.
"I want the flat tax resolution appealed. That's my goal. You're (the town) burdening the residents," she said. "They (town officials) think we don't pay attention. And they retaliate against people who buck up against them."
Campbell still plans to move. And she has discovered that if she sells her home, she won't get a refund on the debt service tax.