July 20, 2004 > Letter to the Mayor and Council:
Letter to the Mayor and Council:
Re: Proposed Utility Tax
I realize the difficult position you and the City are in. I worked for a nearby city for almost thirty years in the planning and building divisions, and I've been a resident of Fremont even longer. I learned long ago there never are enough funds nor a shortage of worthy projects, regardless of the state of the economy; 'tis the nature of our political process. Nonetheless, until the last few years, I have been generally happy with the way the City's operating/capital budgets have been spent.
Without doubt the State theft of local funding and the weakened economy have greatly harmed cities. However, good intentions notwithstanding, this and previous Councils, and the City Manager, have made some poor, if not irresponsible, budget decisions that have substantially contributed to the City's budget woes. But that is water under the dam as they say.
In view of this, if you determine to go forward with this matter, I think it is only fair and right that at the least you do so subject to the following provisions:
1. The tax not exceed 5%.
2. The tax shall sunset in two years unless renewed/modified after additional public
hearings and vote.
3. The ordinance not go into effect unless it contains or references a detailed plan,
adopted after public hearings, that describes how the new revenues will be spent.
That is, these funds should not automatically or uniformly be disbursed to all
departments, programs, capital budgets, redevelopment etc.
4. If the State reimburses any of the lost funding, the tax be reduced by an
equivalent amount the succeeding year.
Doing the above I believe would help restore the City's credibility and fiscal accountability, not only with the voters, but with the business and non-business elements of the community and City employees. And it might increase the chance of the voters approving the proposal.
Thank you for listening.