Friday, September 7, 2007

Local Politics Rant

If you don't live in Clinton, you don't care, so you can ignore this.

This is the shortened version of much, much longer rant...

Clinton is getting a 3 mill tax hike to pay for a new library. Period. No, we can’t vote on it, Mayor Rosemary wants it done that way, so there it is. Forget the fact that the land was donated seven years ago and they have done absolutely NOTHING to plan to pay for it until about a month ago, when apparently they suddenly realized that if they don’t begin construction before the end of 2008, they will lose the donated land and it will revert back to the family that originally owned it. Solution?

First news article: The city applied for a leftover Katrina development grant for $3 million to fund the new library. Woohoo!

Second article, about two weeks later: Oh wait, the library is going to cost $5 million. Ok then, let’s propose a tax hike. 3 mill should do it. Oh, and by the way, when we applied for the grant we told them we’d match funds, so this is how we’re going to do it… (Note the first line of the article which begins, "The city of Clinton is poised to ask voters to approve..."

Third article, the next week: Oh by the way, we had a public meeting about this tax hike on Tuesday, and the thing is, we’re not actually going to let the taxpayers vote on it because they’re clearly too stupid to know how to use a voting machine. Besides, it would cost a whopping $30,000 to hold the vote to let the taxpayers determine if they want to give us 5 MILLION DOLLARS for a non-essential project that we’ve previously ignored for SEVEN YEARS. That’d be silly. Besides, accorder to Her Highness the Mayor, it would pass with 90% approval anyway.

Um, 90% of who? Her friends and family? She didn’t ask me. Or anybody on my street. Or anybody else I’ve talked to who lives here. And if 90% of the people are willing to pay more in taxes to fund it, why didn't you just do a 1 mill increase SEVEN YEARS AGO, which would have it half paid for by now?

So the Mayor and Board will vote next Friday morning on a tax hike that they’ve clearly already agreed to do, since they applied for a grant based on using that money to match funds. Much like everything else that’s been passed since I moved here, we have absolutely no say in the matter, and if it wasn’t for the law requiring notice I suspect we wouldn’t have known anything about it at all until after the fact. It’s wrong people. I don’t care how much we need the new facility, it’s not an essential service and they have no right to take $5 million away from the taxpayers without asking first. The bad part? I support the new library. Desperately want it. Would be willing to pay additional taxes for it. But I'm not stupid enough to think my opinion is the only one that matters, nor do I like the slapstick way it's been handled.

And if you think I believe the part about the tax being reduced or going away after the library is paid for, let me assure you I don’t. If the public had to vote to renew it, it would go away. If the Mayor and Board get to vote to renew it, it’ll be around forever, just shifted into a different form. Once we get used to paying it, they won’t give it back. Just another reason to keep us out of the voting booth.

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