BY DONNA WESTFALL
It reminds me of the anti-fluoride campaign. There was no talking to our council members about the harm from HFSA chemical. Their dentists told them it was safe and effective and they bought it hook, line and sinker. Not indicative of independent thought.
Likewise, there is no use trying to talk to these bobbleheads about the 18% increase they plan on approving. In the past, some of them (Schellong and Murray) approved things like $35,000 designer error that got passed on to the ratepayer. Some of them, ( Schellong and Murray) approved $600,000 additional to be spent “sprucing up” the sewer plant for the Grand Opening in October 2010. Some of them, (Schellong and Murray) wouldn’t investigate the $165,000 the city lost in penalties due to Colburn Electric falsifying payroll and not paying overtime. Those are just a few of the reasons they have over $1/2 million deficit. It’s not just because expenses are high. It’s not just because they didn’t increase the sewer rates $10/year for 3 years. Because they will still have a deficit even after this latest sewer rate increase goes into effect. Because they spend too much. Because it’s a very expensive system they installed which they were told years ago and ignored. Rates will continue to increase unless you educate yourself and then try to educate the city council members. If you don’t care to act, neither will they.
Part of the reason why we have a deficit is because they weren’t vigilant in watching the spending going on in the first place and they still aren’t. There was no reason for the city to take the full $43.8 million and encumber and burden this little town with that huge amount of debt. They could have saved millions if they had wanted to. Instead, they were more interested in censuring me and stopping me from investigating fraud and corruption taking place.
Now, staff tells them to jump and they say, “How high?”
Here’s what you have to do. Start writing letters to the editor of The Triplicate. Start passing out notices to your friends and neighbors about the increase. Attend the March 18th city council meeting at 6 pm in the Flynn Center. Tell them you can’t afford an 18% increase. If they think it’s so an easy for the ratepayer to increase an expense 18%. tell them to cut expenses at the city by 18% to see how easy it is.
Then start asking questions: Go to the water department and ask:
1. EXACTLY HOW MANY SEWER CUSTOMERS DOES THE WATER DEPARTMENT CURRENTLY HAVE?
2. WILL THEY PROVIDE YOU WITH A LIST OF ADDRESSES TO FIND OUT EXACTLY WHO IS HOOKED UP TO SEWER?
Because if they don’t answer question #1, and won’t do question #2, we are at their mercy to act honorably and honestly which has not been their policy in the past. If we don’t check on them, we have only ourselves to blame.