With the recent questions raised by the Herald-Leader about the Purchase of Development Rights program and the tax rates charged to “farms” and “farmers,” I cannot help but see the agencies and individuals identified as modern Sheriffs of Nottingham.
Where once, in the days of yore, the sheriffs would storm among the villagers and cudgel those who owed taxes to support the lords’ lands, today’s sheriffs work among an assortment of agencies, boards, commissions and departments that, in effect, confound accountability.
As in Sherwood Forest, those who pay taxes to purchase rights or enable low tax rates for these farms have no rights, ownership or access to these lands.
A shame that these practices continue, despite past exposures of like sheriffs of the Library Board, the Airport Board, the League of Cities, the Bluegrass Area Development District and other community- and state-tax-supported, but inscrutable, institutions.
Does it matter to the sheriffs? They might wail that their reputations are at stake, but they continue to use the same method of taxing the commoner to serve their missions, with little effort to remove the opacity of the systems under which they operate.
Fie ye sheriffs and your practices.