Originally Submitted By Linda Sutter in 2020 – it bears publishing now since the Crescent City, City Council plans to increase sewer rates in the Spring of 2024.
Opinion and Commentary By Linda Sutter
The city would receive $1.2 million dollars per year by increasing the sales tax 1%. The county is in the process of developing a similar measure to be placed on the ballot to receive 1% more in sales tax for the county which would also generate approximately $1.2 million. This is without a sunset date. It is not known at this time the purpose for the increase in sales tax for the county.
City Manager, Eric Wier and City Finance Director, Linda Lever are less than truthful to the public and will give no transparency. Why? Earlier this year Ms. Lever and Eric Wier told the public and City Council that there was a $400,000 deficit in the water fund because several people were not paying their sewer and water bills. When I began to publicly ask questions the truth of the matter came out. There was $6 million dollars in the Sewer and Water Fund. “Oh,” Mr. Weir says, “what I meant was there were no funds for the capital project.”
No, Mr. Weir. You and Linda Leaver intentionally lied to the public and City Council to make it look like the city was in debt due to delinquent payments, which by the way would take approximately 3.5 years give or take to be $400,000 in debt from 100 people delinquent in payments to add up to $400,000. Let’s do the math. Let’s round off the water and sewer bill to $100 per month to make it easy. Let’s say 100 people were delinquent for one year. One person delinquent for one year is $1,200 dollars. 100 people delinquent for one year would be $120,000 dollars. Get the picture?
At Monday night’s City Council meeting held July 20th, City Manager Eric Wier stated one percent sales tax would generate $1.4 million dollars a year for the city. This is less than truthful. Currently, we pay a quarter of a cent for every dollar spent towards the fairgrounds, which will sunset in 2022. This generates $600,000 per year minus Covid. So, one percent would generate $2.4 million dollars per year. But Mr. Wier and Linda Leaver want you to believe it is only $1.4 million dollars per year for a reason. The purpose of this one cent is falling under the guise of city police, fire department, training for disaster, oops rewind, training for disaster in actuality means travel back and forth to sister city Japan. Oh, and to fix the potholes in the city. The explanation given by Eric Wier regarding no money to fix the city streets is because they used that street money to pay $600,000 per year for a swimming pool to pay one full time position and 16 part time positions. (with approximately 75 people who support the pool with annual passes). Currently we pay 7.25% per dollar spent. When you buy $1.00 worth of merchandise it is rounded off to 8 cents. With the added one cent sales tax we would pay 9 cents on one dollar amounts. Not bad unless you buy a car, tires, appliances, or pay for Home Depot projects. Where do you think people will go for those purchases? Especially people on limited incomes?
And let me remind you 70 percent of our population receives food lunch program through the schools and senior citizen program. The other thing people should consider is this one cent sales tax never ends. There is no sunset date. The accumulation of$ 2.4 million dollars per year will eventually be abused and misused by this local government. To such a degree they will ask for more when they once again outlive their means in spending lavishly on trips to Japan, or other “training” excursions. (Let’s not forget the $650,000.00 the city took from water fund enterprise for a stabilization project congress is going to pay for… wink wink… like congress will pay for last chance grade right?) Dave Gearhart, a citizen, stated he supported the hike in sales tax. His theory was, “cost of living goes up.” I don’t believe Mr. Gearhart follows enough public meetings to see how our public money has been squandered without so much as a blink of an eye, and without a moral compass. But, Mr. Gearhart, God bless him, has a strong opinion and I appreciate it.
In the meantime Heidi Kime, Alex Fallman, and Jason Greenough are running to keep their positions as city council members. If the one percent sales tax passes, I imagine they will vote themselves a raise to sit on City Council. Oh and did I mention only the city residents get to vote on this tax measure? Not County residents but city residents? Wake up Crescent City. Your pocket books are going to be robbed.
Linda Sutter and Donna Westfall shared the Taxfighter of the year Award for 2022 from President Jon Coupal, President of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.