City officials should reconsider special fees to help reduce deficit



          Kudos to the city council and acting city manager for working out a budget for this year that actually includes a surplus of $18,000.

          That’s pretty remarkable considering the city is about to be taken over by a state-appointed emergency manager because of a $3.4 million deficit.

          Despite the ability of the council to get this year’s budget in order, they missed a golden opportunity to raise extra revenue and begin to whittle down the deficit.

          The council rejected a proposal by Acting City Manager Kyle Tertzag to pass on the city’s bill for street lights onto property owners. Tertzag suggested a “fee” to be charged to homeowners to alleviate a yearly $500,000 cost to the city.

          It would have been an extra $90 a year for the average homeowner, but the council rejected the idea.

          Instead of bringing in much needed new revenue, the council adopted a budget that needlessly cuts a position in the Community & Economic Development Department.

          If anything, city officials should be investing in economic development – not taking away from it.

          Had the council agreed to a nominal fee they could have helped eliminate the deficit and preserve a key position. Now, however, the CED consists of one person — its director.

          Of course not including a fee to property owners is the popular thing to do, but it’s not the responsible thing. Hopefully, the incoming emergency manager will do what this council refuses to do: Show leadership.


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