I think it intriguing that we have some candidates for the city commission who believe they have the solution for economic development for the city. The solution is the reduction of utility bills and taxes. This proposal is coming from, among others, a past city commissioner, who should know these facts.
I think it intriguing that we have some candidates for the city commission who believe they have the solution for economic development for the city. The solution is the reduction of utility bills and taxes. This proposal is coming from, among others, a past city commissioner, who should know these facts. The fact is that the City currently has and did have at the time, outstanding revenue bonds for the electrical department. One of the legal provisions of this bond is a minimum level of utility revenue must be maintained to remain in legal compliance. Another fact is that the electrical fund of the city currently and in the past has transferred in excess of $650,000 per year to the general fund. The general fund is the fund that levees taxes that you and I pay. This transfer allows the move of city funding from property taxes to user fees that every utility user pays. This transfer reduces your and my property taxes by approximately 19 mills per year. Now, my question is how do we reduce utility bills and rates to you and me and stay in compliance with revenue bonds? If we can do that then at what point do we cut into the funds that are being used to reduce property taxes? Reduce taxes and utilities for the short term at the sacrifice of long term financial stability? Does that sound like a good plan for term limits? It does make one wonder just what this campaign really is all about — popular campaign rhetoric to become elected?
Another campaign believes compensation of some city employees is too high in relation to the general salary level in Pratt??? Is this the USA or Eastern Europe? The socialist countries tend to believe this theory that one should not be allowed to excel but to be maintained at the level of the lower performers. Our County Commissioners are paid around $20,000 per year to meet, on average, one day per week. Multiply that by 5 and we have $100,000. To the best of my knowledge none of our county commissioners have any professional training in municipal management or municipal law. Maybe the city manager’s salary is not unreasonable? If the salary question relates to all of our city employees, then the proposal must be staff eliminations or across the board salary cuts. I believe our current city employees are of a higher than average quality and perform their jobs at a level above the average. I believe they earn every bit of the salary they are being paid.
Another popular campaign slogan is that taxes are too high and we should reduce them. Do you honestly believe any of our city commissioners that have ‘ever’ served don’t try to do just that? At the same time our citizens want services, cleaner streets, smooth main street, a steady water supply, police, trash, fire and sewer services. All that costs money. Whenever high taxes are mentioned, people tend to look at the city. The city is only a small part of the whole tax picture. If you compare the city of Pratt with other second class cities of comparable size you will find our “city tax rates” are well within line of many of them.
The most credible candidates are those that offer their best efforts to study and understand the facts and then make decisions that seem in the best interest of the City as a whole. Think about which candidates have promoted this position and which have personal ‘agendas’. .
Frank A Laubhan,
former City Commissioner