Council candidates' stance fees for city services

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Gazette Staff
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Would you expand fees for city services already covered by property taxes, such as the recently proposed emergency response fee for motor vehicle accidents and fires?
If so, which would you consider, and which are off limits?
Briarmoon: Absolutely not. We already pay property taxes for police, fire, garbage and street repair/cleaning/snow removal. We can save money by collecting recyclables every second and fourth or every first and third weeks instead of every other week, which would save us four 40–hour weeks of recycling expenses each year. We can snowplow instead of garbage pickup during a snow "emergency" rather than workers putting in … overtime. We can eliminate the assistant city manager position … We can eliminate the unconstitutional police-state practice of "pro-active" code inspector stalker write-ups and instead wait for an actual citizen complaint. We can repair our existing citizen representation process to get many additional ideas to cut the budget.
Hoppenjan: No.
McDonald: Ultimately, issues of taxes, fees and service cuts all come down to one basic question: Are we spending tax dollars wisely? At the same time, increasing fees and taxes to raise revenue and cutting services to decrease expenses must also be reviewed. If it is decided that certain services are no longer necessary or viable, perhaps cuts can be made. If it is decided that all services should remain intact—or even that additional services should be added—then we as taxpayers must pay for those services. Anything and everything must be on the table; they all must be given fair consideration.
Rashkin: I am very reluctant to charge people for services provided by our public safety departments.  As the city faces the need to generate more revenue, certain fees such as garbage and a sidewalk inspection fee (when that sidewalk is installed by a private contractor) need to be considered.  But as a community, we do not want people to think twice about calling fire or police departments when help may be needed.
Voskuil: The question here really is: How do we balance the city budget? We all need to realize that every year, the challenge to balance the budget becomes more difficult. There are so many factors to consider. We ask department heads to look carefully at their departments. They look for efficiencies and ways to reduce and share cost at the same time they maintain and improve our high-quality city services. We need to look at all possibilities to balance the budget, and that may include looking at fees for services.

Last updated: 1:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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