County Council Meeting 5-26-09 It’s All About Taxes

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There were no committee reports.  Barbara Bryant was appointed to the Library Board and Dan McDonald lost his appointment to Ms. Bryant.

The council jumped immediately to new business.  New business meaning the wheel tax.  They had the ordinance, but it was missing some vital information.  Several people got up to speak on the merits of the wheel tax. 

Todd Donati said he was not interested in increasing taxes.  He assured us he would put it in writing the money would not be spent on other things.  (It is illegal.)  He supports the Sunset Clause or reviewing every so many years.  The council wasn’t prepared with how many years, just that there would be a Sunset Clause.  Donati also said he would show us the investment of money.  Hope it is nothing like the investment of creating a job for his son.  (Yes, that still ticks me off.)  He said to give him 3 years and he will put the roads in shape.    He plans to rebuild the roads with drainage problems and he will look into raising fees on utility companies that cut into the roads.

Don Dunnuck said it is not adding a new tax, it is a replacement for other tax.

I believe Donati said the money would go only to paving and not to hiring or equipment.  Don’t hold me to that statement.  Two employees have already been hired since th first of the year.  Wonder if they will hurry to get the hiring in while there is still some funds left for paving from this year’s budget?

Scott Alexander asked the county get it’s house in order before they enact any new tax.   Elected officials always seem amazed when this is mentioned, as if this is the first time heard.

Bowman (county council) wanted a public hearing to get input before voting on the ordinance a/k/a new tax.  Donati said it was made clear the meeting would be about wheel tax.  Although, if you look at the agenda sheet, it is not listed.

The County Council has been in office less than 6 months and they have already started discussing 4 new taxes.  Wheel, LOIT, COIT and Dog.

The wheel tax is by far the fastest moving tax issue.  For example, today, the ordinance that was introduced had no figures, charges and certainly more flaws that we know.  Take for example, when Mr. Bowman asked Mr. Donati to read a section of the ordinance.  That section included bridges and new construction.  Bowman said the money was only to be used for repairs and maintenance.  If it would have been passed as it is written, we would be stuck with this added expense and less road paving.

It really needs to be looked at with a fine tooth comb to assure that nothing inapropriate shows up and the taxpayers don’t get stuck holding the bag.

There will be no public hearing, no input from the public.  It is a rush job and needs to be approved by June 30, 2009, regardless if it is a good ordinance or not.

Mr. Donati said all the people who cared were already at today’s meeting.  I thought it was a disingenuous comment considering, most in attendance were government employees or elected officials.  Not to many citizens can get off during the day to attend a meeting.  Even one as important as this meeting was.

Some things we should be looking at. 

Contracting an outside company to do the paving.  It may be a little more costly, yet once it is done, the employees go on to another job and don’t stay on the payroll when there is no paving to do.

Why not look into using TIF which has approximately 6-7 million dollars available?  Allison Quirk and several others said the roads fall under economic development.  This would save citizens millions of dollars and the money is for economic development.   We already have it.  We would still have money to spare if it was spent wisely.

What I find so amazing is how quickly they are to enact a new tax, it has to be done by June 30th.  Their argument is we don’t have time to waste.  Imagine how farther along we would be today had the elected officials applied those same principles to say, The Modernization and Consolidation effort?  Or perhaps Animal Control?  Or tapped into the TIF?

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