The Mayor and City Council are on track to take another $10 million out of the local private economy and put it directly into the pockets of government bureacrats and government worker benefit plans. They are proposing adding “Fire fees” to each property in town and try, with a straight face, to say this is “not a tax”. Well, if it walks like a tax and quacks like a tax – IT’s A TAX! The local economy can not afford a $10 million government drain in the middle of a recession. The city needs to find more cuts and should start with employee health benefits, pension plans, the pier to nowhere and endless waste floating around the budget.
The Mayor continues to engage in outragous propaganda claiming that the city will face a disasterous deconstruction of 20 year of progress without this tax hike. This is the same Mayor who while, on City Council in 2007 stated that the city could not “afford” to cut property taxes because it would damage the “quality of life” of the city. Well, that was when tax collections were at their all time high of $103 million. Seems like we have done well with the $70 million or so taken in last year. How can these politicians expect the citizens to beleive them now, based on their failed predictions of the past and their continual propaganda campaigns.
Here is a letter sent by one angry St. Petersburg resident to the City government. It is sure to fall on deaf ears again. While this author disagrees that the property tax rate should go up (spending cuts are the best prescription) he lays out the issues well.
Mayor & Council:
A fee-any fee- falsely named but created for the sole reason to extort money from the citizenry, is criminal. It matters not whether implemented by a medieval castle owner or an elected politician. The politicians of St. Petersburg seen bent on imposing an onerous fee on it’s population due to their governmental incompetence and arrogance.
Incompetence because you don’t understand that a millage increase is more acceptable to the citizens than a phony “fee” that, once created, will NEVER be repealed. Even we unwashed know that once you acquire a cash flow from the tax payer to the tax user, that dollar stream will never be eliminated. At least a property tax millage rate can be raised or lowered.
Incompetence because a needed police station is considered an annoyance so many on council and within the administration, very unfortunately.
Arrogance because you ignore the needs of the city as you blindly stumble forward in the pursuit of your pier. A money-pig that a majority of the citizens do not want in this current economy. And, yes we all know about the special taxing district; a fantasy district occupied by the Tax Fairy who will magically make 50 million dollars appear, pay for the pier, cost us nothing and possibly hide Easter Eggs for us all.
Arrogance because council has proven itself, in the past, to be unwise in the spending of tax money. Witness useless police cars purchased, dog parks created and a proposed “splash pool”. It’s astounding that $300,000 can be made to appear, Phoenix-like, for this joke when we can’t pay our bills.
Allow a minion a suggestion or two:
1. Tear down the pier then STOP. When the tax district generates the needed money then let the city, the public and private enterprise create a signature structure that unifies not divides the citizens.
2. Keep city service and employment as it is. Raise the millage rate to cover the budget plus 5%. When the economy improves (as it’s slowly doing) the option is there to again lower the millage rate.
3. Use the reserve fund to cover emergencies. That’s why it’s there.
4. Lose the “fire fee”. We all know it’s a lie. It’s not designed to nor will it fund anything related to fire except to fire the anger of the taxpayers. It’s extortion, nothing less.
5. Just once in a while listen to what Wengay Newton has to say.
That’s my opinion,