Could the fire department abuse the admission tax revenue?
A tax increase by any name is still moving the money around. It doesn’t matter if it is an increase in income tax, admission tax, or a levy added onto the property tax. No matter what kind of increase is
chosen, an increase will take the burden off the city’s general fund freeing up more money that the city can burn through relocating City Hall.
The admissions tax looks promising because it is not coming out of the pockets of the taxpayers. A group has come forward to take up a petition to increase a long overdue admission tax. The
committee’s goal is to fund city services including fixing the roads, maintaining three fire stations, and removing dead trees. Will there be a percentage of money allotted to each of the three project items,
or will it be up to the commissioners’ discretion as to how the money will be spent among the three categories?
As for the street part of the admission tax, the city already has such a street fund, but salaries and benefits burned through most of the money leaving money for only patching to be done. Will the fire
department’s raises and benefits over power the admission tax revenue that it squeezes out the money for trees and streets?
Fire station No. 3 is in need of major repairs and possibly a new station. The money could possibly come out of the admission tax. I could easily see the new revenue being abused by the fire department just like what happened to the street fund.
Unless the percentage of money is divided equally in the language of the petition, how can the citizens expect a fair distribution among the three projects? The commissioners could pave one road and still
fulfill the obligation of the petition language. The fire department might get 80 percent of funding and 10 percent left each for the streets and tree removal.
Another concern is that the admissions tax would show partiality over the fire department versus the police department, which needs funding also. The pros and cons are going to have to be weighed
before any taxpayer approves of any increase in taxes. Possibly doubling the admission tax seems like a lot of money to expend without proper planning.