Speakers had plenty of specific suggestions

Published 9:24 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2013

To the editor:

I went to the City Council meeting for public input on the budget Monday night, and I’d like to share the things I noticed and some things that were brought up.

Many stood to recommend that the council fully fund the School Board in this year’s budget. It seems, however, that they didn’t realize that doing so would result in increased taxes. While it would be nice to be able to give the School Board all the money they want, it isn’t practical when the City Council is planning to go into deficit already.

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On that subject, the council seems to be particularly adept at spending other people’s money without regard. Why does City Manger Selena Cuffee-Glenn deserve a salary higher than our governor, along with fully paid healthcare and full retirement? During the mayoral debates, Mayor Linda Johnson, who was still defending her job, assured us that Cuffee-Glenn did not have such a raise coming. Now we see her getting a 14-percent raise and full benefits before the council even has a budget plan.

Council members, after everyone had spoken on Monday, took turns addressing the citizens. One common theme was, “If you want to make suggestions, we need specifics.” This seems, however, to ignore many citizens who stepped up to speak very specifically about cutting spending.

Comments ranged from “Cut spending in parks and recreation by 50 percent” to “The city doesn’t need so many cars; reduce the number of cars and how much the city spends on gas.” The new library also was mentioned as wasteful spending. Why build a new library when there is a perfectly functioning library less than a mile from the proposed location of the new one? If newer technology is the issue, enhance the library we have at a lower cost than building a new one.

Also, while the new recreational center for Whaleyville sounds nice, look at our council’s record. They had one there before, and it is no longer there. Perhaps when the budget will allow and the council has proven we can trust them, then they can pour three million dollars into a project that big.

Christopher Whiting