To the editor:
Virtually every homeowner in Lawrence has received a notice that their property taxes are increasing.
For many, these increases are excessively high. Your paper has carried articles about these increases and the problems they have caused, but you have not tried to examine why they are occurring and what can be done about them.
The basic reason for the increase in homeowner property values is the intense competition for affordable homes in Lawrence. Two groups are fighting for the available affordable homes: single families and landlords.
The advantage lies with the landlords. They have the money and the organization to buy up single-family homes and turn them into businesses. Many landlords own a few business houses and some own as many as 50 in single-family neighborhoods. Business houses provide more profit when they are rented to three or more unrelated persons rather than to families. Thus, families are denied affordable housing in single-family neighborhoods.
Business houses in single-family neighborhoods increase taxes on the remaining homeowners. The county assessor makes no distinction between houses used for business and those that are single-family homes. Since business houses earn money, they carry a higher value than single family homes. As more homes are converted to business use in a neighborhood, they are used as "comparable" and the taxes on the remaining single family houses go up.
Business houses in Lawrence are responsible for the higher taxes on your home. It would be well if the Journal-World took note of this fact and spent more time investigating the cause of our rising property taxes. Homeowners who are concerned about their tax increases should find out more about the number of business houses in their neighborhoods.
for the Group to Preserve Single Family Neighborhoods,