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Opinion: Ard wants residents to pay more

Matt Westerhold • Jan 30, 2013 at 9:43 PM

If Sandusky city manager Nicole Ard's Q&A for residents during her quiet community input meetings over the last week is any indication, there's a tax levy heading your way if you're a city resident. 

Question: Would you be willing to support a taxing initiative, such as a public safety initiative to provide adequate police/fire services? 


I can't recall city commissioners discussing a potential tax hike in any public meeting in 2012, or so far this year. Perhaps I'm not understanding the question, which is part of a series of strangely worded questions. But what else might a "taxing initiative" be, if not a tax increase?  There's no doubt, in my opinion, that Sandusky city commissioners Julie Farrar and possibly Jeff Smith will support a tax hike, but I doubt there would be much other support on commission for one. 

It might be better to determine whether city residents already provide "adequate" funding for "adequate" police and fire services. It might be better to hire a police chief and ask him or her (yeah, right) what changes could be made to reduce costs and improve services. It might be better to determine whether three-day work weeks for police officers is an "adequate" and productive use of city resources, or whether it's a surrender to union demands. It might be better to determine whether a part-time roster of firefighters could reduce costs similar to the $775,000 reduction the city of Huron accomplished with the addition of a part-time staff. 

Finally, it might be better to elect a mayor rather than hire a city manager who thinks a tax increase is the way to balance the city's budget. 

Click here to see all the questions Ard listed out for all the residents (two or three, maybe) and city staffers (more than two or three)  who attended the meetings, and decide for yourself: Were these questions designed to get honest input from residents, or were they really crafted simply to avoid the real work that needs to be done?   

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