John wrote an excellent article that accurately summarized local governments.
The same "disease" has attacked the city council in the city
were I live. A neighbor worked for the city a few years ago. When she worked
for the city, there were just a few employees. Then things changed. Suddenly,
we had to have fourteen policemen in a city that had no crime. Revenues to the
city went up when those fourteen policemen wrote an average of ten tickets per
day. A new city hall was constructed. When my neighbor saw the direction that
the city was going, she quit her job. She said that she would not be part of a
local government that had decided to prey upon the citizens that it
"served".Preyed upon. When government becomes the
"predator" and we become the "meal", we are all in trouble.
Mike,Your comments are spot on. So the question remains what causes
the disease? We see the outcomes. I posit that the tax structure cities have
imposed on them is a big part of the culprit.1. When a city imposes
a tax to raise $2,000,000 for example. A tax rate is calculated between the
assessed value of the real property and $2,000,000 and a "levy" is
imposed. Say .00030. Take the tax rate times your value and there is your
"portion" of the tax.2. The only way a city can
"grow" revenue is through sales tax and fees and fines, meaning
recruiting business, offering incentives with quick pay back, storm water fees,
and citations, etc.When an economy shrinks, sales tax revenues
shrink and property tax increases become the norm to "maintain level of
services."Lastly, the base assumption of "typical"
residents are I want the service, and since most tax is NOT transparent, these
residents believe "someone else" is paying for it.My former
city didn't plow residential streets which is a service I want and I think
everyone should "chip in." We all have something we think gov't
I think john lives in a different Salt Lake City then I do. The new parking
meters in my city make it far more convinent to park, no more fumbling for
change and rushing in and out because I could only find a Nicole in the ash
tray. City streets that are scaled to the neighborhoods they serve instead of
designed for a full of team of horses to do a u turn. Inviting venues and open
spaces condusive to an active and rich cultural life. Buildings and
transportation options that are responsive to the reality that airr quilts is an
issue when you live in a mountain valley, this the salt lake i live i n. There
is a reason the mayor has no serious challengers come election time, he reflects
the values of the vast majority of salt lake residents.
Wait a minute.You're looking at the current condition of Salt
Lake City's streets, sidewalks, trees, parks, etc. and saying the city
_doesn't_ need to spend more money fixing all that's broken?The city is in constant financial stress because that's the way the state
legislature likes it.
Government sometimes puts so much emphasis on the "future" that it
stumbles over the present. Nobody holds a gala at a street re-paving, or storm
drain replacement so these items get pushed to the back burner. People do get
press for new arts complexes, malls (bribed into town with tax deferments) and
the like.Those who run for office and win and climb the ranks, or
have that "lean and hungry look" see themselves as a cut above the every
day common riffraff that occupy the particular city they hold office. It is
boring to perform the humdrum monotonous duty of keeping the city running and on
an even keel. Hence the search for challenges to "improve" the city in
their eyes and it is also nice to have your name on the bronze plaque near the
main entrance.elections do matter. These are the people who ran and
we elected. Remember, they are doing this because it is for our own good.
I'm from Bountiful, and this is a Salt Lake issue, but I have to say I
couldn't agree more. There is a lot to be said for keeping taxes low and
living within your means.