The town hall meeting was what I expected. The city has taken the show on the road to try and convince the citizens that it needs a tax increase and City Hall must be moved. I expect future town hall meetings will be much of the same until the city actually places the tax issue on the ballot.
For about an hour, the charts came out and the bad news just kept pouring out, one chart worse than the other one. The words tax increase came up, but the city doesn’t quite know how to present the increase. Should the city place an income tax on the ballot or a safety levy? When should the city place the increase on the ballot? November is out of the question because another school levy is expected to be on the ballot.
The next thing that was talked about was the City Hall move. The interest rates are so low that it will be an ideal time to accumulate more debt. Interest rates may be low, but the city still has to make a payment on another loan. Does it make any sense to go into more debt just because interest rates are low?
Making the City Hall relocation a top priority is not what the taxpayers have in mind when the city talks about a tax increase. The city needs to recognize that its borders stretch beyond downtown. All that the city can think about is spending more money on downtown projects, including moving City Hall while the budget is cut even more to accommodate downtown’s wish list of projects.
It is discouraging to think that most of the tax increase could go towards moving City Hall instead of tackling the real needs of the community. Yes, the city is behind in development, but when the city becomes the developer, the taxpayers pick up the expense of the development while other needed projects will be delayed for who knows how long. The city needs to get its priorities straight by spending the money on fixing the streets and updating the services and equipment so staff has the tools available to operate efficiently.