Good job on the follow-up story, “Hikes not likely to be averted,” in Friday’s newspaper. I agree with your headline.
One reason the tax hikes won’t be averted is because in cases like this, officials always seem to deliver the “problem” to the taxpayers after the milk already has been spilled. So, in effect, the hikes are presented as being absolutely necessary — a fait accompli, if you will.
Taxpayers whose only experience is managing a household budget have a very difficult time understanding how this happens, and they inevitably assign the problem to malfeasance, mismanagement, misplaced priorities or “downright thievin’.”
That’s why it’s important for our public officials to make the effort to explain what is necessary and why these tax hikes supposedly are required due to budget shortfalls.
So few people attend the meetings (and the value of that forum seems so dubious) that the local government’s best way to get the word out on matters like this — in my humble opinion — is via our “conscience of the community,” the Coastal Courier.
They should be encouraged to explain the need and tangible benefits of the China/Europe trips; new construction; and attending off-site conferences and seminars — including the costs of these conference and seminars and where the money is coming from to pay for them.
It also would be helpful if they went into detail about how our community actually benefits from things that appear to be unnecessary or excessive to taxpayers.
The local government entities — in my opinion — are operating at a severe credibility disadvantage in public perception right now due to their continued operation and support — at apparent taxpayer expense — of what seems, by most accounts, to be a huge money pit: Liberty Transit.
Again, good job. The Courier continues to provide a great service to our citizens.
— Mike Sebek