Conservative Viewpoints

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Emotions running high and money running short for City Council

Posted by Stephen on May 4, 2007

For the first time council began addressing the hard numbers associated with the tax rate. Of course, before work could commence there was an emotional exchange regarding the Wayne Theatre.

Frank Lucente expressed concerns that he was being left out of the loop when it came to developments surrounding Wayne Theatre funding.

An angry Lorie Smith, who defended the actions of the other councilors present, shot back at him by saying, “The things going on behind the scenes that you’re a part of are horrible,” and when asked to elaborate on the accusation Smith said, “I don’t want to go there.”

Councilwomen Lorie Smith and Nancy Dowdy are proposing a 70 cent tax rate, an increase of 12 cents over the tax neutral rate of 58 cents before inflation. Tom Reynolds voiced support for a 14 cent increase to 72 to cover bases in case of additional expenses the council might face. Unfortunately, there was no discussion of spending cuts.

Though sure to be voted down, Lucente said he will propose a rate of 63 cents, an increase of 5 cents he explained as an allowance for inflation over two years.

Lucente’s proposal would force spending cuts in city government possibly aimed at city personnel and other luxuries.

In the midst of the discussion was a continued reference to the need to find, of all amounts, $300,000. Interesting, because council recently voted to give the Wayne Theatre, you guessed it, $300,000, which has now evolved into a figure of $1 million dollars over ten years.

Additionally, 300K represents approximately 2 cents in the tax rate. For example, if Smith and Dowdy believed that 70 cents was acceptable than we can conclude that a rate of 68 cents, which would limit the impending tax increase to ten cents, would be achievable had they not voted to give 300K of tax payer money to the Wayne Theatre.

It is a sad development to witness the majority of council refuse to acknowledge the detrimental impact of spending $1 million dollars of tax payer funds on private endeavors while necessities languish and the only solution provided is to borrow more money and raise taxes.

It is increasingly frustrating to know that the city manager continues to make reference to one time payments that are on the horizon and the need to continue to strengthen the Capital Reserve Fund just to watch the majority on council shove the Wayne Theatre down the throats of citizens while diverting $1 million dollars that could go a long way toward addressing progress for our city.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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One Response to “Emotions running high and money running short for City Council”

  1. Donna Kent said

    As a citizen, I call on city council to put a Hausrath Theatre Tax up for referendum in the next election. Let the people of Waynesboro decide on whether or not they are willing to support this. Since Reynolds, Dowdy and Smith firmly believe that the people of Waynesboro are behind them, there should be absolutely no reason not to support this referendum, which, if they are correct, would clearly demonstrate that people want their money spent on the Hausrath Theatre and not on silly things like schools, roads or water and sewers.

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