Posted: June 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

I can understand nominal fees that are necessary to cover what taxes may not, but that should be the end of it, government should not be in business of making a profit off our public properties.  What is the point of government when the tax money received is insufficient to maintain or cover standard services and expectations by the community.  Does the city have a right to look at public services and publicly held properties as a commodity for profit.  Is it their right to act as a private sector entity because they are unable to maintain their checkbook?  Fee for public parks, fees for public community centers, increases in zoning and building permits.  A fee just to have access to a public picnic table, what are we running a country club?  Using a park for an event such as a wedding in the past required only a city permit; now it could cost $700 or more.  Wasn’t the Park System the only vestige of freedom to access of publicly owned property?  Holding events at city parks and community centers will of course cost more.   Fees are coming from everywhere, the Fire Department now has fees for inspections and the Police Department has their fees for services as well.

The parking issue continues all over the city, but now the city is nickeling and diming visitors, not to mention residents, with parking tickets and code enforcement violations. For example, the issue in the Woodstreets regarding street cleaning signs, and residents being hit with $41 dollar tickets.   Now, if you pay for a landscaper by the month, and you tell him not to show, he still gets paid, but he doesn’t penalize you for not utilizing his services that week. Well the city does. As taxpayers we pay for street cleaning, if we decide to park our car in front of home, shouldn’t we not get ticketed for using that service that day?  People maintain the front curb in front of the sidewalk without thinking that the city owns it, should we in turn send part of landscaping bill to the city to be reimbursed for maintaining it?  Or after a windy day, should we charge the city for not picking up the broken tree and palm branches left on the street? Left for the Residents to do the job themselves? These are issues Councilman Mike Gardner will have to deal with appropriately in his new term.

Aside from the redevelopment concerns, the city’s 2011-12 budget continues existing services and restores non-emergency tree trimming.  Now you wonder why you have to pick up and cut the palm branches that fall after a good wind, or why the palm trees, Italian spruces etc. have not been trimmed.  A no brainer, an expectation of the community which has paid for this service in advance.  The city has taken those funds that you have paid for, paid for in advance for trimming the trees on the curbs in front of your homes, and have utilize them for other uses.  They, the city didn’t expect the turn in the economy, and were going to replace the funds.  When they have seen that this would not happen, they hit the tax payer with increases in fees and revenue enhancers, because they just don’t know how to handle a check book?  Fee increases are always an indication and reflection of bad spending of your money, and a way for them to make up the money you already have paid and to cover incompetent spending.  In addition, fees are easy to do, they don’t take a vote of the people, as taxes do.  That’s why they will not call them that.  The one issue that comes to mind, is that in a time of economic turmoil and the expectation of a another cycle of a double dip recession in 2012, are fee increases really good for the economic growth and development of the city?  … and will visitors really come?  This I say because City Hall has a track record of not being business friendly and visitory friendly, and when you have been stung by a bee once you never forget…

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