Councilman Scott Hente resorts to the old trick of diverting taxpayer attention to the “general fund” portion of the city budget, rather than the entire $360 million passing through council hands this year (up $13 million from last year). See www.CityReforms.com for the facts.
He says stormwater tax revenue should be ignored since council labeled it an “enterprise.”
So what? General fund or special fund, mandatory tax or mandatory fee — whatever political tag he arbitrarily places on this public works spending, the compulsory cost to taxpayers is the same.
Strangely, Hente says enterprise “funds are not available for use by the city for services that benefit the whole community.” He thus claims stormwater projects do not benefit the whole city, though all property owners are forced to pay for that public works program.
Hente further shows his budgetary confusion by writing that next year’s budget “will be reduced further due to … rising costs.” Higher costs do not shrink budgets.
Certainly, ending the illegal stormwater program falsely labeled a “business” will reduce revenue and spending on it. That is the point. But phasing out over 10 years the secret utility tax will simply slow the increase in city spending from its historic growth rate.
Hente says the utility tax is “transparent.” I think he meant “invisible,” since it is not disclosed on utility bills.
Finally, Hente justifies the stormwater tax by saying 23 other cities have one.
Sound familiar? “But Dad, everyone’s doing it.”
Your response in both cases should be the same: reject self-serving whining. Think clearly and act resolutely, by backing the two citizen petitions on the November city ballot.
State Rep. Douglas Bruce, Colorado Springs