Image courtesy of City Councilor Steven Iovanna
This about sums it up. I wasn’t at the City Council Finance Committee meeting last night in which the public had an open floor to comment on the proposed city budget, but this explains the input.
A total of five had something to say. Just five.
You can somewhat factor out the handful of regulars that showed up and you aren’t left with much. Somebody spoke about the Meals on Wheels program, that’s about it.
So is there no interest in this budget?
“It was definitely the shortest budget hearing I’ve ever been to,” City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior said afterward. “It shows that we must not be doing anything too controversial.”
And that is probably true. Last year, several different cuts were being proposed and people showed up. This year, not many programs were being cut and city services weren’t really being changed. Those not in favor of the budget say “you’re spending too much,” but there hasn’t been much of an alternative offered.
The tax increase amounts to about $100 for the average homeowner in the city. This comes a year after they didn’t even increase by $30 for the same group. Two years prior, most of the city didn’t feel anything or may have had their taxes lowered due to a revaluation.
So take that 100, divide it by 12 months, and you’re paying less than $10/month extra in taxes. Obviously taxes are quarterly so it’s a little higher, but, in the long run, are you feeling it? Probably not a whole lot.
To be honest, I went and had my taxes done over the weekend. My jaw dropped when I saw what my wife and I made last year, combined. She was laid off last February and wasn’t hired elsewhere to almost September. Our total income was basically pennies. And right now, I’m not sure how we made it through last year.
But we did. So I’m pretty sure, now, with her job, we can make it through a tax increase.
It is a bit disheartening that only 5 people showed up to say something at a meeting about the city budget. Ya know, the thing that explains where all of the city revenue is coming from and how things get paid for.
But again, nothing controversial, not a lot being cut, so there you go. People will gripe that taxes are too high and they can’t afford an increase. Do people move out? Yup. Do people move here? Yup.
The complaint about taxes is something that goes back quite a while. I remember Managing Editor Eric Cotton coming up to me showing a clip from the very early 1900s in which people were livid about this tax increase of pennies, literally pennies. Of course, nobody knew what specifically to cut, but that’s another story.
Maybe people think the council just won’t listen. Maybe they just don’t care. Maybe they will just accept it. I’m not sure. But five people? Either you doing something really right or something really wrong. For now, I’ll lean to the former.