August 29, 2014

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On the Other Hand — You get to decide where money comes from to fix budget PDF Print
Saturday, April 26, 2014 8:28 PM

I’ve been to all the meetings, I’ve been looking at the financials for months and I still come to the same conclusion: I am voting yes on the city’s .25-percent income tax on May 6. It is 25 cents on every $100 of earned income from a city resident. That’s $125 for someone who makes $50,000 a year.

If you had the stack of financials I have sitting before me, you would see there really is no painless way out of this hole the city is in without it. There’s been a lot of finger-pointing and blaming going around but ultimately, we are here and we need to work to fix it. It’s going to take “all” of us.

The city has made concessions and some say they aren’t enough but I wonder if they really understand what can and can’t be done. The city has to follow the law when it comes operations.

“Cut expenses,” everyone says. Well, yeah. They’ve been doing that for some time now and are down to “bodies.”

Do you want the potholes fixed? It takes manpower. Do you want the streets swept and mosquitoes sprayed for and the grass cut and ball diamonds prepped and maintained and the football field upkept? It takes bodies and it takes money.

It’s the city’s job to provide safety and service - period. Don’t jump on me just yet. I’m not a park hater. We all love our parks. I challenge you to find a community our size with as many beautiful and well-maintained parks. We are very fortunate. Thousands of children and adults take advantage of our parks in the spring, summer and fall. It takes bodies and it takes money.

I’d like to tell the income tax increase will help us maintain. Not really. It will help us maintain what we have “right now.” It’s not going to allow for the furloughs to be lifted and pay returned to normal. It’s just going to keep us going as we are.

No one likes the word “tax” either. It makes hackles stand up and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. But there are more people in Delphos collecting a paycheck than there are households. On their own, water and sewer increases to get us to where we need to be will be quite a bit more than 25 cents on every $100. Those increases are the only other way the city has to bring in more revenue right now.

Go get your utility bill. Look at the sewer portion and divide it by four. Add that number back on top of the original and that will be close to the new payment every quarter for sewer if the tax fails. Take the water number and divide it by six. Add that number back on top. That’s close to your new water portion of the bill if the tax fails.

We need to learn from the mistakes that were made so they are not repeated and perhaps decisions will take a little more thought and review. A good thing in my estimate.

Crossing our arms and saying someone else created the problem and I won’t be a part of the solution is not feasible. We have to all work together to get this situation under control.

There is a little more than a week before the Primary Election. I urge you to visit the municipal building and ask to see the budget for yourself. If you can find a way to put $400,000 in the budget, I’m all ears and I’m sure everyone else is, too. I know, it’s not your job but everyone needs to get a little understanding on the situation to make an informed decision.

What I know for a fact is that if this tax doesn’t pass, the city will be left to decide how to fill that hole and if you think they are going to stand around and wait for the state comes in and take over, you might want to reconsider. That’s not going to happen.

Ultimately, the city has given you the say on where we go from here.

Some look at it as an ultimatum. OK. That’s your right.

I’m looking at it as a way — I have control over where we go from here and how we get there.

 

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