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There are big returns with property taxes

By: Jenine Windeshausen, Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector
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April 10 is the due date for the second installment of property taxes. Unfortunately, most taxpayers don't get the same feeling of satisfaction paying property taxes that they do when leaving a retail establishment with their goods in hand after their purchase. Goods and services purchased with property tax dollars don't fit neatly into a shopping bag, but most will agree that local government goods and services are important. The following information, specific to the Loomis Area, will let Loomis taxpayers know where their property tax dollars go. For this commentary, we define the Town of Loomis, the Loomis Fire Protection District and the Loomis Union School District boundaries as the Loomis Area. The town limits is about one fourth and the fire district is about one third the area of the elementary school district (including Penryn, but not Ophir). The property taxes (not including general obligation bonds, direct charges and special assessments) to be collected in the Loomis Area for the 2007/08 year are $33,509,202. Of this amount, Placer County will receive over $9.7 million or 29.25 percent of the total. The main services provided by the county are public protection (sheriff, district attorney, probation, and emergency services) and health and human services (substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, welfare, child support services, veteran's services, mental health services, public health, community clinics and environmental health services). Outside the town limits, the county also uses property tax money to provide road maintenance and drainage systems. Loomis Union School District will receive approximately $8.25 million or 24.64 percent for maintenance and operations, including teacher and administrative salaries, books and classroom materials, furnishings, program costs and facilities maintenance. Additionally, the elementary school district will receive approximately $500,000 for bond repayment on school facility improvements. Placer Joint Union High School District (which includes Del Oro High School) will receive about $6.2 million or 18.57 percent for maintenance and operations. It will also receive approximately $674,000 for bond repayment on school facility improvements. Sierra College District will receive about $2.5 million or 7.52 percent for maintenance and operations. It will also receive about $317,000 for bond repayment on school facility improvements. Just under $1 million or 2.72 percent goes to the County Office of Education for countywide program services. South Placer Fire District will receive over $1.6 million or 5.02 percent. The Town of Loomis will receive just under $1 million or 2.98 percent for public works, road maintenance, sheriff's patrol, and other services. The county library will receive $484,796 or 1.45 percent. Newcastle, Rocklin, Gold Hill Cemetery District will receive $483,525 or 1.44 percent. Penryn Fire Protection District will receive $350,153 or 1.04 percent. Loomis Fire Protection District will receive $268,000 or 0.80 percent. It will also receive approximately $309,000 in direct charges to supplement fire protection and emergency services. This amount will increase by approximately $708,000 next year when the new assessment is added to property tax bills. Eighteen other local agencies each receive less than $300,000 or less than 1 percent of the total. Many local agencies also receive funding from state and federal sources in addition to property taxes. This information contains a lot of numbers, but if you think of the Tax Collector's office as the cash register for local government goods and services, as a taxpayer you should know what you are paying for.