AARP AARP States Idaho

AARP Volunteer Fred Turner: In His Own Words vol. 2

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I ended our first Blog with notes on the cost increases for utilities. These are price increases that affect all of us and are happening in our own backyard.  The cost of electricity next year, if approved by the state governing board, will be 8% higher than the current year while the cost of natural gas as announced is expected to increase 25% if approved by the State Industrial Board. 

Lo and behold, I overlooked my water bill which already has gone up 4% this year and will increase an additional 4% next year.  Went by the gas station on my way to the grocery store and holy smokes, $5.29/gal. and yet there are more people traveling than have traveled prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Article in today's paper however, quoted a select group of state legislators as working to come up with a property tax compromise that would reduce the property tax load on homeowners.  Oh well, an article concerning Social Security pointed out that if the government were to calculate the Cost-of-Living adjustment for Social Security participants today, next year’s adjustment would be the largest ever at 10% plus.  The good news was that the fresh corn I bought at the store was as good as it gets and 5 ears for $2.00.

By now, you have probably received your property tax assessment from the county assessor.  Even with the homeowner’s exemption of $125,000, assessed valuation on my property increased close to 100%.   Thank goodness that cities and counties are restricted in the amount of tax increase they can pass on to property owners.  Don’t forget that there is also a “circuit breaker” exemption if you qualify.  Applications for the “Idaho circuit Breaker can be made through the county assessor’s office.  Since property taxes for 2023 won’t be billed until December, I can only imagine how much my property tax bill for next year will increase.  

How is your garden growing?  Mine is looking good with lettuce, spinach, bunching onions, Walla Walla onions, red onions, tomatoes galore from beef stake to grape, cucumbers, zucchini, and bell peppers.  I really enjoyed going out and picking some lettuce for my bar-b-queued hamburger.  Makes growing the garden somewhat fun even though it is a chore.  Sometimes I wish the vegetables would grow as rapidly as the weeds, but it does not seem that way.  We received good news from our homeowner’s association that pressure irrigation water will be available through the summer because of all the wet weather we received, however conservative use is recommended and forget about washing the car in the driveway. Nice to know that the commercial car washes recycle the water and reuse almost all of the wash water. Be sure and get out early to catch the car wash early bird rate.  The Saturday morning radio plant show recommended that you measure the amount of water you are springling on the lawn by putting an empty tuna fish can under the sprinkler to measure the amount and adjusting your water times to ensure enough water gets to the grass to keep things green and nice.

Fireworks all over the valley for the 4th.  Hope you had the opportunity to enjoy them.  We have always enjoyed watching from the school yard up on the hill at Mary MacPherson school. 

Our anniversary trip to Southeast Alaska with our family was superb.  Excursions in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, B.C. were all enjoyable with lots of pictures with which to remember the trip. Had occasion earlier in the year to cruise on the Mississippi on a small boat cruise (200 passengers) and to compare it with this large ship (3500 passengers) cruise. It is really no comparison at all. I will opt for the small boat cruise although it is about twice as expensive as the large ship cruise, but the service and over-all courteous nature of the staff are well worth it.

Hope you did not get stuck in an airport over the holiday.  According to the news, too many flights to count were cancelled or delayed.  I was thankful that our flights to and from Seattle for the cruise were not impacted.  I could not believe the confusion in the Seattle airport.  Our small Boise airport by comparison is a breeze compared to the thousands of passengers in Seattle.

Drove around the neighborhood on our return and I guess the old saying: “If you build them, they will come”, is so true.  I can’t even imagine how my grandchildren will ever be able to afford to buy a home in this environment.  Couple the high home prices in Idaho with the interest rate increase the Federal Reserve has implemented in an attempt to control inflation, and you can understand why it is practically impossible to buy a home these days. 

Hard to imagine that we are already at the midpoint of the Summer and facing the hot weather of July and August. If you have an interest in local music in an outdoor setting, do not forget about the Great Garden Escape concerts at the Idaho Botanical Garden.  Be sure to ask about the AARP discount when purchasing your tickets.

That is all for now.  Find some shade and enjoy the summer and will see you next time.

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