To the editor:
Having watched the Council special meeting on Wednesday, I am baffled. How can any council member sit there and state that the city is living within its means?
Just this past year, council voted to spend $13.1 million to purchase foreclosed vacant lots around the city. Some of the parcels are not even within city limits. Part of the money used for this came from the ratepayers. As I recall, nothing at the time of the purchase was said what the parcels would be used for. Only after being questioned concerning the use of money from the ratepayers, was it said that some would be used for lift stations.
Now I see a waste of city dollars by the water dept.. They are going around and changing water meters that aren't broken. How much is that costing us? Does it really take a three-man crew to replace water meters?
Now we come to the public service tax on the electric bills. Our economy is still not recovering the way it should. 10 percent is outrageous IMHO. This tax is also not being fair to all. It is putting a burden on only improved lots. Those with unimproved lots won't be paying this.
The fire assessment is not a bad idea in theory. Will all properties pay this, or is it just improved properties? The fire assessment would be more palatable if it were an Ad Valorum tax, which is tax deductible at the end of the year on income tax.
I also feel that the council is rushing into this too fast. They need to slow down and investigate all possible avenues of diversification.
This includes water and sewer in every area of the city so that we can entice commercial companies to move here. Without the water and sewer, companies won't locate here.