Reader's view: Street maintenance fee just another city tax
I attended the June 9 City Council meeting. For about two hours I listened to councilors discuss ending the streetlight fee. I listened to them talk about how they would like to see it end that very day but how it just wasn’t feasible to do so. I listened to them say how unfair it was, how it was a double tax, and how unpopular it was. After the discussion and vote, the fee is now set to expire Dec. 31, 2019 (“Council cancels light fee,” June 10). I suppose the fact it eventually will expire is good.
We won’t be as lucky if the street maintenance fee is passed.
The ordinance creating a street system maintenance utility (basically a new department) would be funded by a fee, as I understand it. Another fee voters likely would have no say about, and a fee determined annually as part of the budget process. What that means to me is it will increase yearly. This fee isn’t just money to fix our roads; it’s for all the materials, supplies and labor. That would include the salaries and benefits of all those involved in the process, I assume. This fee will increase every year because those doing the work all belong to the city unions and will “need” an increase every year just like they currently almost always receive.
So what happens to the money currently being used for these “services”? Are property owners going to have their “taxes” lowered? I highly doubt it.
Citizens of Duluth, let your voices be heard. With one exception, you elected these city councilors to represent you. Let them know your thoughts. Send them emails, write letters, call them and, most importantly, show up at the June 23 meeting, where they’re expected to vote on this ordinance.