Saturday, February 16, 2002
PROMISES, PROMISESOn April 6, 1993, the City Council passed an ordinance authorizing the change of water and sewer billing from a flat fee rate to metered volume rates. The initial base rates were $11.75 and $8.95 and $1 per 1,000 gallons over 1,000 gallons for "residential." We were told we needed meters to receive federal funds.
Meters were installed at "no cost" to the homeowners. But most residents knew they paid for the meters via taxes.
To help make the change even more agreeable to voters, discounts were offered for "elderly and indigent" users.
A couple of years ago, the City Council eliminated discounts for the elderly (except for the indigent; i.e. those who met the "economically poor" category as defined by the federal government). Such a definition would not include many people in Steamboat.
Obviously, the motive was to obtain more funds even though a promised discount had been made to the elderly in order to gain acceptance.
A couple of years later, when a sales tax increase was requested by the City Council, they made a promise to the taxpayers that they would never "have a city property tax."
Lately, the council keeps stating they need more "revenue" and suggest they might consider implementing a city property tax.
During recent elections, the argument was made at the county level that if we passed certain measures, we would see no "significant" increase in our county property taxes.
Our assessor, in a recent article in the daily paper, again attempted to explain that because the value of our homes had increased in value (because real estate prices have increased exorbitantly), and the mill levy remained the same, our taxes would not increase significantly.
That logic is hard to understand since our tax notices ask for more dollars each year.
It appears our elected officials always need more money.
They attempt to justify their position (their importance and increased staffs) and make promises which are eventually forgotten by later hired or elected officials.
As a taxpayer and voter we need to remember these promises and make our governmental agencies responsible for their promises.
Since many of our "improvements" tend to be for the tourism industry, it may be the right time to complete the city's recently announced "survey" with these past promises in mind.
It may also be time for our governmental officials to begin living within their budgets.
THANKS, APPRECIATIONWe would like to thank all our friends, the ones that were with us, the friends that notified others, the ones that came to our rescue as well as the search and rescue group.
Thanks for keeping us warm and getting our son to safety as well as going back up to Elk Horn Mountain to retrieve our snowmobile that was left behind.
We sincerely appreciate everyone's effort and knowing that we have so many caring friends.
Dawn, Terry and Patrick Poulson