Revitalized council will come to right decision on taxes

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To the Editor:

There were a number of excellent and thoughtful presentations to City Council from citizens at the last meeting. All were concerned with property appraisals and taxes. They requested the council set a tax rate for the coming year that would reflect efforts to reduce the costs of city government and the present stressful economic environment.

Interim City Manager June Fleming noted several efforts to reduce costs. Generally it was accepted that the fire, rescue and police functions should not face reduced budgets.

Significantly increased fuel costs, the 2 percent salary increase, and the price rise of just about everything else the city needs to function brings us to the most painful subject of all, personnel. Without an intimate knowledge of the staffing versus the workloads of each department, it is impossible for most of us to make recommendations in that area. City management can do that, and, we expect, will.

When someone takes out a light pole or there is a water line break, we want quick restoration of service. This requires people and makes any reduction of personel even more difficult.

Some other costs are unavoidable. The expense for professional, third party consulting in the search for a new city manager, for example, is small compared to the price of making a mistake — as has been done before.

Shared services among city functions such as budgeting and purchasing, some of which is already being done, can help. Creative and original thinking is necessary. Fleming’s experience and expertise will be invaluable. We have faith in a revitalized council.

Joe Stutts