To the editor:
I wholeheartedly support your July 13 editorial, in which you question the wisdom of city officials proposing a variety of multimillion-dollar projects in light of existing economic uncertainties.
In addition to your points, county officials are considering over $1 million of budget increases and, based on recommendation this spring, the school district will most likely propose a multimillion-dollar bond issue for school upgrades or new construction.
These local governmental increases will come with sales tax and personal property tax increases plus the bond issue. These increases will come in spite of the city approaching the maximum on our “general debt obligation guidelines.” Just as the federal government can vote to raise the national debt limit in order to spend more money, the city commission has the power to raise those “guidelines.” But is that a wise, responsible decision?
Meanwhile, county officials expect a $250,000 reduction in state funds this year and even greater cuts next year. Most alarming, the county appraiser anticipates a 2 percent to 4 percent drop in property values next year. Each 1 percent drop is roughly equivalent to a loss of $1 million in local revenue.
Clearly, now is time for our local officials to face up to the weak financial future and to distinguish “needs” from “wants.” In that process there should be no new sales or property tax increases and no new long-range financial obligation through new bonds.