Vote Yes for Truth, Transparency and Due Diligence

As you read this article, please note it was written last week so I have no idea where we stand on the great Fayetteville City Council budget debate on how much of a tax increase Fayetteville citizens will shoulder. However, I was pleased they agreed to hold two more meetings to discuss the options.

Ahhhh, the art of compromise!

Hey, after all, devising a $200+ million spending plan takes time and consideration one would think. So, what do we citizens know for sure? Maybe four things:

One: Crime is our #1 concern.

Two: Citizens are willing to pay for more officers, security and safety.

Three: Citizens are not at all sure of anything else.

Four: City Manager Ted Voorhees’ proposed budget has an extreme amount of non essential fat in it that he defends vigorously.

It was encouraging to me that two of the four freshmen councilmen, Kathy Jensen and Mitch Colvin, agreed to a smaller increase if the money went to hiring more police officers. I admire that, but, why have any increase at all?

Also puzzling to many is why the other two council newbies, Chalmers McDougald and Larry Wright, resist the history, logic and experience of respected and seasoned council members like Ted Mohn, Bill Crisp and Jim Arp.

Another major puzzlement is the obvious lack of transparency in the creation and presentation of the proposed budget.

From where I am standing, Fayetteville citizens just don’t have the facts about how their tax dollars are being spent and the state of the city’s finances. If they did, they would know that an $8 storm water and solid waste fee is actually a “tax.”

More importantly, they would ask where the city has spent the $2 million plus each year that was earmarked for 48 unfilled city positions. Yes, transparency is a major concern.

Why else would local residents form a political action committee (Independent Voters Coalition) and launch a last minute telephone campaign in an effort to inform the public that unless their council representative (Bobby Hurst) has done his due diligence on Voorhees’ budget proposal they could very well be voting in a tax increase that is unwarranted, unjustified and ill conceived.

Yes, this could happen, and, it would be irreversible.

Of course, Voorhees initial reaction to the PAC’s fiscal S.O.S., as reported in the Fayetteville Observer, was to call them all liars. Hmmmm? Not a very good strategy for building consensus.

Well, we’ll see.

Here’s what I know for sure: Crime prevention is the number one priority. Fund it. City employees (except management) deserve a pay increase. Fund it. Any other needs in the proposed budget — PROVE IT!

A special thanks to Mike Chandler and the Independent Voters Coalition for attempting to enlighten Fayetteville citizens on the facts and the issues.

Transparency.

Nothing to fear here, but the unknown.

Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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