Newton White via bounce.secureserver.net
8:38 AM (1 hour ago)
to David, Michael, Scott, Drew, Don, Bob, Allen
Last night I intended not to pick on line items in the CIP. I had sent most of my concerns to the manager and received answers you were copied on those and they were mostly discussed by council already. I had hastily written some of my thoughts inspired by the CIP and the budget tax rate process we are in the midst of. Yes those thought relate to the CIP. The Capital Plan is the budget outside payroll and to fund it requires taxation, thus my comments on the increases in residents incomes, the increases already in place on or utility bills, and a comparison to inflation rates.
My comments last night were intended to ask you to be reflective of the costs, and tax rate levee required to pay for it, as you considered approving they numerous items of questionable need and pricing. I hoped to bring the surplus reserves to the table as a source of paying some of the one time investment costs. I had hoped to express my view and observation that comparing our rates to other cities who are charging more for millage and utility rates is not a reason to raise our rates. The praise of our city is pride, we do have a wonderful community as is. We enjoy award winning water from a recognized award winning utility department, the aesthetics of our city are good we have attracted a great deal of companies and home grown business to our city. We as a city are looking to make everything even better, as we should. The CIP contains the costs of the physical projects, in my eyes it is focused on expansion and the justification for the increase of tax revenue. The plan does not contain evidence or spending that requires increased efficiency and synergistic use of our capital equipment and resources. It attempts to justify spending without great restraint, without restraining growth in spending to the levels incomes of our city have been at.
Below is what I was reading from last night it is not verbatim. I hope at least four of you will take the time to read and consider what I was was attempting to convey.
I am not going to talk about line items in the budget or personnel costs. I am going to talk about taxes water rates and money.
The proposed maximum rate is about 7% above roll back. The last rate increase in the water sewer bill cost most customers about a 10% increase in their overall bill. The last increase in social security was less than 2%. The average wage increase in private sector jobs has been reported at 2% or stagnate. Historically the average inflation rate is just under 3% including some recession years.
We have heard a budget and are looking not for immediate reductions in cost by finding more efficiencies and synergies, but for justification to increase the burden on taxpayers.
I have heard from consultants and staff who compare our tax and utility rates to others that charge more, as to say we are undercharging and need more. I see a good city with a lot of talent and amenities award winning water and waste treatment and no financial struggle. In fact we have a over abundant surplus and look to surplus over one million dollars this budget year. Then I ask myself why do the other cities charge so much for what they have. Not why don’t we charge more. They need to lower their rates. It makes me feel good about my city, as much as I know we can be even better.