Vote NO on Aug. 1

On Thursday evening I attended the final “Budgeting 101” public information forum at the library. I learned about the structure of the city budget, but when it came to justifying the change in the local option sales tax, the city administrator and the finance director did a very unconvincing job of why a change was needed. As I sat through the presentation, I recalled how a hospital board recently saw millions of dollars unwisely spent, and now our city leaders, many of them unelected, want more freedom and “financial flexibility” to spend our tax dollars! Our city leaders recently increased our sewer rates (taxes) to the point that they now feel that enough is being generated from the sewer fees to cover all road and sewer projects. Thus, they are now asking for voter approval to transfer money from the local 1 percent option sales tax revenue that is allocated for roads and sewers, into the city’s general fund to finance their special, but yet unnamed projects. I want to see our streets and sewers to continue to be improved, so let’s keep the funding the way it was originally approved by the citizens of Marshalltown. In eight years (2025) we will have the opportunity (an election) to decide if the local option sales tax should be continued and how it should be used. In the meantime, we should see eight years of needed street and sewer improvements, and maybe, if the city is taking in more money then needed, a reduction in our sewer rates. Finally, the city administrator states that if the special election fails, “the council will discuss making fee adjustments, adding new fees, or reducing services.” It always seems to be easier for city administrators to threaten us with increased fees and taxes than to really take a hard look at the budget and do what is right for the taxpayers of Marshalltown. I urge you to vote “NO” on Aug. 1, and thus keep some control over how our tax dollars are spent for the next eight years.