Monday, July 30, 2007

Walking & Comments

I spent several hours Sunday campaigning door to door near where I grew up. My best friend lived on the street when we were in high school and it brought back many wonderful memories. The comments were many and involved taxes (too much); trash (unfair); alleys (so bad they can't be used); crime; roads; guns.

Regarding the taxes, I was asked what as a council person can I do to stop the school levy being proposed (this from a school bus driver). Roads: they are so bad in some areas, it is impossible to get the bus down the streets. Trash: why are we paying an additional tax and getting less service, what was the real reason for the tax. Alley: they are so bad, everyone has to park on the street, they can't get back to the garages. Crime: we need something on the books that removes the children from the home of convicted sexual predators. It was heartbreaking to listen as a mother tell of a daughter who had 3 young daughters and was living with a sexual predator. The grandmother is near panic over it and the safety of the girls; there is nothing legally that can be done. Guns: he wanted to know my position; well, owning a gun is not my preference, but it is your right and none of my business, but we agreed it was disconcerting to think of a concealed weapon in a public park full of children. What of the school levy, council has not input on the TPS, so they wondered what the Mayor has to do with it, why they were talking to the Mayor about the levy. I explained he could only come out publicaly along with Council and advise the voters.

Alleys & Roads: As trash is collected, have the driver of the refuse truck note locations where roads need repair and alleys need cleaning. In the case of the alley, the refuse worker would turn in the report at the end of the run and the city would issue a warning to clean the alley within 30 days and if not cleaned, the refuse team would do so and the owner would receive a bill for the cost of cleanup. This would need union approval, but I'm confident they would work with the city to help effect this change.

When we "dump" our alleys, the owners no longer have access to their garages or off street parking which causes congestion on the streets. The alleys are as much a part of the city infrastructure as the roads and should be maintained. We should not abandon alleys.

Trash tax: CAN IT!!

Finally, after 3 hours and not one question about "strippergate", I commented to my friend who lives on the street and walked with me that no one had even mentioned "strippergate". She looked puzzled and asked, "What's that"?


Neighborhood Concerns said...

Trash tax: CAN IT!!

The service fee for the collection is an emotional issue for many in the city.

But let us, reflect. I have only lived for about 10 years, so please excuse if I make an error.

The city sold the citizens on the idea of a temporary tax to fund the operation of the city for some years now.

Successive administrations and councils have come and gone and all that time the city has declined in population and businesses have either folded up or left.

So, the revenue base for the city has shrunk all the while the expenses for the city have increased.

So, the administration faced a dilemma was not unforeseen, although, the administration failed to act sooner and that left us with a fee for a service provided by the city, which is very common.

So is the problem the fee or tax if people prefer or is the problem a failure of past and present administrations and councils to act in a way that looks forward and sets a path to help the city grow and prosper and manage its finances properly.

People advocate canning the trash tax, how do we pay for the removal of trash then?

Karen SHANAHAN said...

I returned to work in 1986, it was great fun having extra income for the family, nicer vacations, fancier cars, newer home, some savings. bigger contributions to the church, etc. Nine years later, my husband had reconstructive foot surgery and his employer said "too bad, lad" we're putting you on disability and his income dropped 66% overnight. I thought about going to my employer and asking for a big raise, but we all know the answer so we buckled down, cut out the extras, ate into the savings and continued on our way. Nine years ago, I changed to a new company, pay raise and good medical benefits. The company changed hands, restructured, cut employees, cut pay and required employees to kick in for medical insurance and also co-pay. I was fortunate, survived the employee cuts but last year, I still earned less than I did the year I hired in and pay $250 per month towards medical benefits which I did not pay when hired. I saw a beautiful diamond ring in the paper yesterday, $78,000 and thought how nice it would look on my hand, so I thought, I'll just go to my employer and ask for the money, they have an annual revenue of 1.5 billion, that's peanuts to them. Of course, this would never happen. The point in all this is how many times does the city go back to the voters and ask for more money? Recently, the administration has loaded more fees on the residents, penalties, found more ways to extract extra money in "hidden" charges. We need to responsibility handle our finances, I don't think we do.

Neighborhood Concerns said...

"The point in all this is how many times does the city go back to the voters and ask for more money? Recently, the administration has loaded more fees on the residents, penalties, found more ways to extract extra money in "hidden" charges. We need to responsibility handle our finances, I don't think we do."

Sure, and no disrespect, but in all the words I do not see any means of generating the income necessary to run the city.

An employer generates more of something to pay the bills. More widgets or tidgets to sell or a service company sells more services.

Here we have a city on the decline with more and more people leaving which translates into less people paying taxes, we have less businesses, we have so much on the decline and we see candidates offering little in the way of stopping the losses.

We do hear and read a lot about tightening our belts, but I gotta tell ya my belt is pretty tight.

What can be cut from the city, flower planters at this time was an exercise in fiscal mismanagement but the city has expenses and has to provide services to the citizens and the citizens do not to pay more and we, all of us, face a potential 10$ Million dollar short fall.

The belt has only so many notches.