fb pixel

Log In


Reset Password

July 28, 2006 City mouth bigger than stomach The City’s new budget is, sadly, an eye opener. First, the City Council approved a plan calling for 25 utility rate increases. These compounded hikes, many in excess of inflation, will lessen

City mouth bigger than stomach

The City’s new budget is, sadly, an eye opener.

First, the City Council approved a plan calling for 25 utility rate increases. These compounded hikes, many in excess of inflation, will lessen Ashland’s affordability. They include:

Storm drain fee: 100 percent hike this year, — percent hikes annually through 2012.

Transportation utility fee: 15 percent hike this year, — percent hikes annually through 2012.

Water rate: annual 6 percent hikes for the next 6 years.

Wastewater rate: 10 percent hike this year, 8 percent for the next — years, and — percent thereafter.

But this is just the tip of the taxing iceberg. We’ve had a property tax increase to help pay this year’s AFN debt payment. But this precedes a tidal wave of $25 million in future AFN debt payments. Further property tax hikes to cover AFN debt will eventually pass through to every renter in town. Such increases will strike at every renter and struggling homeowner at a time when people are being faced with bonds for schools, fire stations, and libraries, plus inflation and interest rate hikes. The budget also warns that even more property tax hikes may be needed to cover city operating expenses.

For years, the city has spent freely spent money while times are good. Things have changed, but the city’s spending ways haven’t. The budget outlines a stunning $66.4 million of public works spending over the next six years.

The council makes a big deal of its “Strategic Plan.” Yet, this capital improvements program is not even addressed in the Strategic Plan. It is as though the council has transferred spending and taxing authority to the Public Works department.

The upcoming election offers the unique opportunity for electing a council majority, hopefully a majority committed to holding the line on city spending and considering selling city property to raise money in lieu of taxes. We need a local government that will tighten its belt like many individuals and families are having to do.

We need this kind of majority not because of some “government is bad” ideology, but because the citizens of Ashland can no longer afford a “Rolls Royce” city government that knows only spending and taxing.

We need it because our own city government should not be a major reason why Ashland becomes a town where only the rich can afford to live.

Randall Hopkins

. '/var/lib/mysql/mysql.sock' (111) in /home/daily/public_html/opendb.php on line 3Could not connect