Thursday, November 16, 2006

Here is a redux in light of the new utility rate increases.
Dear editor:

The choice is clear in the city election. If you choose the incumbents’ way, your budget will be squeezed this summer. City Council went up on your bills already (when it wasn’t needed) and now the worst is yet to come. Milford electric went up around 50% over the course of the last year. Delmarva Power will be 59% this May. Dover is still negotiating, even though the bids have already been submitted. The city manager has already signaled an increase is assured.

We, the challengers have given you a better choice; we can blunt some of the increase. There will still likely be increases. Energy costs are up. Power costs in this multi-state power grid are among the highest in the nation.

We need to return all of the profit sharing money in the electric rate stabilization fund. That is approximately $4,800,000. We are the stockholders in Dover, and it is time we had our dividend. According to the shopper, April 7, 2006 in an article by Drew Volturo, there has been no decision on how to spend it. They will likely put part of it will go to electric rates. We say no way. All of it needs to go back to the electric customer.

Not only should it all go back, any savings we achieve should be after rolling back the tax/fee increases need to be added to the fund. I would like to see millions from the carry forward be applied to the fund. The electric consumer has been subsidizing city operations for years; it is only fair to give a break during the adjustment.

Next we need to establish a Capital Projects Sunset committee. There are over 50 projects worth over 8 million dollars, which have been pending for years. We need to review them and decide which are priorities and which need to be retired.

We need to give up on the 13.4 million dollar city hall under one roof plan. There is nothing wrong with two locations. Would you rather have seniors choose between medicine or electricity this summer? Mr. Sadusky and Ms. Williams apparently would.
I respect both of these people. They are friends, but they are wrong.

My opponent, Ms. Russell, admitted after numerous questions in a candidate’s forum on April 11, 2006 that she favored the property tax hike, saying ,”you have to do what you need to do”. She incrediblely claimed that legal advice told her not to answer whether or not she favored any plan to deal with utility rate increases.

The naysayer’s and doom purveyors put out the outrageous lie that the city will go bankrupt (Mr. Sandusky). One person rightly noted that we will have to get rid of a project. Ms. Mitchell obviously does not read what her staff sent to council. April 10, 2006. I was a bookkeeper for a major retail operation with local revenues $100,000 to $300,000 a day. I have taken accounting and upper division economics courses. I promise that leaving the city with excess of $45,000,000 plus in reserves would be far from bankrupt. Jim Webster has a Master’s Degree in public administration and ran a great restaurant downtown. Dr. Bill McGlumphy was the former chair of the council budget writing committee (legislative and finance committee). Mr. Fred Tolbert was a planning commission member for 5 years and has an impressive professional background. This is a team which will bring serious oversight to the budget process.

Look at projected income for FY 2007. It is 109M. Look at income from this year. It is 109M. If we increase spending, over last budget by inflation, we still will be 5 million dollars plus in surplus plus 3.2 million in carryover this will keep the 8% contingency policy (not law). This is why we have each mentioned our preference for zero based line budgeting. That way an increase is not a cut.

Imagine if we got rid of a couple of projects and kept spending just about level for just one year. That money could help the working families, retirees, and poor get through this summer by bolstering the rate stabilization fund. My heart would be broken to read about a senior dying in the heat as happened recently in Chicago.

I am tired of the recipients of that tax and spend Kool Aid being served in city hall telling us that it will be a horrible thing if they can’t find new ways to spend our money. We have shown how to make a difference in people’s lives without compromising services, employee retirement, or anything else.

Now I will humbly ask that you give us a chance. We need more people on council who will stand up for you. After all, if we only get half of what we propose through council, we will get more done for the people in a month than they did in the last two years.

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