4.2-Cent Tax Increase - Really?

I’m not proud of the fact that we have not had a tax increase in Fayetteville for more than 13 years and, right-minded Fayetteville residents shouldn’t be, either. No wonder we lag behind other major municipalities of our size in infrastructure and quality-of-life amenities.

For decades this community has been grossly deprived by elected leadership whose priorities were obviously elsewhere. Perhaps at the beach? In 2014, we have gotten to a point where we are forced to deal with the consequences of this neglect. Now we hear that the only solution seems to be the inevitable 4.2-cent tax increase recommendation coming from City Hall and career bureaucrats well-versed and aptly conditioned at spending and allocating other people’s money.

To say it’s “government gone wild” would be an understatement. And, for you lemmings and advocates of the tax increase, for heaven’s sake, plea05-21-14-pub-notes.gifse stop telling us this is for our own good and it is only $63 a year (on a $150,000 home) or a cup of coffee a week for a year — unless you frequent Starbucks — then you only have to give up one latte a month for a year.

In any case, tax advocates claim these are meager amounts that everyone should be able to afford and gladly pay “for better police protection.” Really?

Well, since crime is our number one priority, how about we fund police protection first. Wow, now there’s a novel idea. Here’s the point, many Fayetteville residents (I for one) do not feel the city is being prudent in identifying efficiencies in our local government departments and operations. Little has been done to discover and identify economies of scale to eliminate or reduce redundancy.

Since the recession began in 2008, local businesses, organizations and institutions have been forced to adopt prudent spending plans and identify efficiencies just to survive the difficult and stagnant economy. Local businesses reduced staff, salaries and hours and sought other ways to enhance their intake or to cut their budgets merely to survive.

Reducing crime is our mandated highest priority. Let’s deal with it using the resources we currently have. Subsequent priorities, as mandated by the citizens, can then be dealt with using the city’s remaining funds. If there is no money left, and a tax increase is needed, then our elected officials can assess and evaluate our options. I’m sure if the needs are imminent, a legitimate tax increase would be recommended without regard to political consequences. As it stands right now, it is difficult to support such a recommendation when we are subjected to shallow reasoning void of facts and deprived of alternatives.

Before such a decision is made, Fayetteville residents need to know how this newly created 4.2-cent hike in revenue is going to be allocated and spent. Remember, many Fayetteville residents (think Big Bang annexing) are getting very little for the taxes they are paying. For the most part, many Fayetteville residents believe asking for a spending plan before taking the money is a pretty simple request.

I hope the city staff and our elected city officials don’t think it is the taxpaying Fayetteville residents who are simple.

We’ll see how this plays out.

Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

Photo: Since crime is our number one priority, how about we fund police protection first.

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