Opinion: Ard wants residents to pay more

Matt Westerhold
Jan 30, 2013

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? 

Huh?

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?   

Comments

whocares

How much does a city commissioner make a week? How many hours are they expected to put into the job? Does it even equal minumium wage? Does the Government pay better not to work?

T. A. Schwanger

The City Charter is available at the City of Sandusky's web-page and details how much each commissioner and the Ex-officio Mayor makes per week/year.

whocares

With all of Mr Schwanger's knowledge and experience he should run for city commission.

AJ Oliver

Ms. Jones - thanks for your response. Knowing something about how hard it is to be a good city commissioner, I admire anyone willing to run for the office. Although Tim & I disagree on a lot of things, I admire him too. He really knows a lot about the city. I predict that, should he run, he would be the top vote getter. It sounds like both of you would be budget bulldogs - which we do need.
I'd also suggest that we ask the city to conduct an informational session on budget issues. People are really not aware of the deep cuts being imposed on local governments by the state. It's all well and good to "live within your means", but when your MEANS ARE CUT deeply, there is just no way you can keep on doing what you have been doing. The city needs more foresters, recreation for our kids, and greenhouse workers. Are these just frills? Maybe, but when your quality of life goes, your community soon follows. End of rant!!

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