Time for a change at City Hall

Published 10:23 pm Friday, June 3, 2011

To the editor:

I was very displeased to see that only two City Council members, Leroy Bennett and Mike Duman, voted against the current budget. Only they had the sense to vote against a city administration that’s out of control and out of touch with the citizens of Suffolk.

The mayor said Suffolk is in good financial shape, but I guess that was a lie she told the taxpayers. Mayor Linda Johnson is also out of touch with the citizens of Suffolk and out of control with her management of the city.

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The city manager is out of control and is doing an unacceptable job of meeting the needs of the taxpayers. The only thing she’s done since being hired as the city manager is to advocate for paid trash collection, higher water bills and higher taxes, including real estate taxes.

All of these “improvements” put much more of a financial burden on the taxpayer, especially senior citizens and those on a fixed income.

I am incensed that our city spends taxpayer money for unnecessary things like the arts and sidewalks in front of vacant lots where only one or two people might walk at any given time.

How can the city manager say it’s the right thing to do to add a six-cent real estate tax hike, a new $18.50 per month trash collection fee and a 9-percent increase in water and sewer rates?

Also, our city leaders want to borrow $71.6 million to fund utility upgrades and a $23-million City Hall. Some of that money should be used to close in the open ditches in this city.

How can the mayor say that the city is stable, solid and moving in the right direction and at the same time approve a budget that included raising taxes and adding other costly fees?

The city manager has stooped so low as to keep secrets from the City Council concerning an opportunity Suffolk had to provide use of the airport by the Navy, a proposal that could have earned the city $2 million a year. For the city manager and her staff to wait until too late for responses to inform the council about the opportunity shows how unreliable and out of control she is.

The Planning Commission is also out of control. They are not working in the best interest of the citizens of Suffolk. They disapproved the Four Farms development, but when it comes to North Suffolk, everything gets approved. You don’t hear any mention of any traffic problems around there.

Citizens of Suffolk must insist that tax rates be lowered and that the city stop adding more fees. Also, they should tell City Council members to stop calling their pet projects “investments” unless there is a dividend check or tax credit coming back to us all for our share of the cost.

The mayor, city manager, Planning Commission and City Council, with the exception of Mr. Bennett and Mr. Duman, must go, because they are not working for the citizens of Suffolk.

It’s time for the citizens to tell our sorry leaders that enough is enough and that we can make a change if they don’t wake up and smell the coffee.

Bernard Wright