Comfortable, that’s how Mayor Williams feels about the property tax rate hike. he and a majority of the council approved a 58.5 cent rate (per $100 of assessed value) in a first ordinance reading. The final reading and vote is upcoming.
The rate is lower than that first proposed in the city manager’s 2010 budget, but councilmembers Terry Seamens and Josh Wright, were NOT comfortable with the lowered rate, each saying they though it should be lower still.
They split the budget rate vote 4 to 2.
Your Gilbert arches his ironic eyebrow. Wright, who last year chastised an effort by councilmember Dan Robinson to trim the budget, has joined the Tax Cut Crusaders this year, while Robinson voted with the Tax and Spenders. This is especially ironic given that Robinson was active with Sustainable Takoma in its hey day. Sustainable Takoma was (is?) a group of fiscal conservatives that didn’t exactly call for reducing or eliminating city services, but it certainly hinted at it – it’s website had a not-entirely-accurate chart showing how much more city tax money went for services that other localities got from the county.
Your Gilbert is also curious how the mayor and the three other “yea” voters calculated their comfort level with the tax rate rise against the fact that this is an election year. It is true that fiscal issues seldom provide much traction in city elections. Even the community center boondoggle didn’t result in anyone getting booted from office. For that matter, contested races are rare. So, perhaps it is a safe calculation.
For whatever it is worth (opinions vary) the city now has an official Strategic Plan in all it’s vague and jumbled glory. The council voted unanimously on May 18 to adopt it. Supposedly, it will be up for yearly review and revision because issues, priorities, and strategies change. Why then, you may ask, do we need to write it down?
The answer is that some people like to write things down. They like lists, they like “crafting” statements that carefully avoid offending any of the other councilmembers. And they like having a plan, one from which catchwords and phrases can be borrowed from, so everyone can have a cuddly feeling of common purpose, or at least common jargon.
So, for at least a year, every supplicant before the city council (every supplicant who has done his/her homework) will regurgitate the phrases “sustainability,” “livable community,” and “engaged, responsive, service-orientated government” at them. If the lack of parallel grammatical construction of those three “prioritized goals” bothers you, you are not alone, Dear Reader.
Councilmember Clay stuck up for the grammarian constituency, requesting that the writing be reconstructed into parallel shape. That would be the sustainable way to support a livable community with an engaged, responsive, service-oriented government, don’t you agree?
Oooo, cuddly feeling!