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Letter: MUSD trustees miss mark again

Here we go again. A recent vote by the Madera Unified School District

Board of Trustees to increase the “Developer Fees,” which are paid for the construction of a new home from $4.10 per square foot to $5.00 per square foot helped to put another nail in Madera’s coffin.

It was to take effect immediately. There was no 30-day notification period offered, which is usually customary. This amounts to a $1,800 increase to the price of the average 2,000-square-foot home. This increase shows that the Board, once again, has no concern for the average homebuyer in Madera who struggles to purchase a median priced home. (“Developer Fees” is a misnomer as they should be called “Homebuyer Fees” because they are passed on to the buyer in the purchase price of the new home).

Don’t forget that voters just approved a $120 million school construction bond that raises property taxes across the board and will lead to rent increases on tenants by landlords who find it necessary to pass the increase on for their businesses to remain profitable as well as negatively affect those on fixed incomes who are struggling to make ends meet. This was the largest bond for school construction in the history of the Madera Unified School District.

The Board then turned around and gave taxpayers’ money earmarked for schools to the Arts Council, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Unified School District.

Have you looked at the voter approved debt and direct levies on your tax bill lately? You probably don’t even see them if your bank is collecting them from you in your monthly payment and paying your property taxes directly to the county. Order a copy and review it sometime. You will be shocked to see just how much you pay in addition to the base property tax.

This is another reason that people who are able to do so are leaving Madera in droves, taking their money with them and seeking out much better-looking and more vibrant communities with better planning and more amenities to offer, such as Clovis, Riverstone and Fresno. Madera has done everything possible to drive people away, ranging from the punitive water rates that are currently being charged. (As a result of these rates, our town is beginning to look like a ghetto with dead lawns, dead trees and weeds popping up on previously nice-looking residential properties and streetscapes) and outrageous salaries that were being paid to upper management.

The City of Madera has had 12 years since the last economic downturn to get its act together and put in place a plan to build the sorely needed Westberry Bridge to improve our traffic circulation, as well as widen the Granada Drive Bridge to make it safe for pedestrian traffic, and has done absolutely nothing toward either one of those projects.

Thanks goes out to our past illustrious city administrator, who was more concerned with feathering his own nest and building a fire station and gas station legacy while giving over $5 million of our future tax dollars, that would have gone to improve the city, to the developers of the Love’s gas station to coerce them to come to Madera.

So much for good planning and smart growth!

I have complained in the past about how our “highly paid school administrators and government officials” are taking our tax dollars that they are paid here to their homes in Clovis and Fresno, and enriching those communities at the expense of our own. Madera Unified is the largest employer in

Madera and my guess is that almost half of their employees and an even larger percentage of their administrators don’t live in Madera. It is not because Madera does not have affordable housing. Madera’s housing is some of the most affordable in the Central Valley. The real reason may be that Madera is no longer the cute, small town that it once was.

As citizens of this community I believe that we would all like to see new businesses come to Madera to increase our shopping choices. With people fleeing Madera and taking their money with them, for all of the above-mentioned reasons, we may not be afforded that pleasure, as Madera’s demographics continue to stagnate.

— Michael Pistoresi,

DMP Development Corp.,


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