Editor, The Friday Flyer:
I want to thank Dawn Haggerty for her informative letter last week. There were, however, two inaccuracies that I would like to correct. The first is minor. She stated that “the City tried for two years to get County Fire’s attention.” It was actually five years, started by Barry Talbot when he was mayor. I will say, however, that the last two years I was on the Council were utter frustration!
More important, Dawn stated the UTT (Utility User Tax) “was misrepresented to the people.” Not true. At the time we proposed the UTT, it was not possible to know the exact amount of money that would be raised. (Every household would be paying a different amount based on utility usage.)
No one said the UTT would solve our problems or be solely dedicated to the fire department. The UTT was a general tax, not a specific tax. Time and again it was stated that we needed the tax to give us “breathing room” until we came up with a workable, affordable solution.
Then the County refused to negotiate with us and substantially increased their fees. Recently they threatened to raise them 18 percent! What was the cost of living increase? Closer to 1 percent than 18 percent.
I do not want you to think that the City Council at that time intentionally misrepresented the costs. In the 12 years I served on the Council, not once did I ever lie or knowingly misrepresent facts. This means that the other Council Members did not either, in any statement that came directly through the Council. Why would we do that?