Note: the following was addressed to the Black Diamond mayor and council.
I have looked over the budget and I am very concerned about the drastic measures being taken. Raising taxes and fees to the tune of 16 percent, eliminating two police officers, the DAR program and parks services and maintenance all to pay for a city administrator. I think you should rethink about hiring one. As I have said before there is nothing that the mayor and staff can't do that requires a city administrator. The courts have proved that. The mayor has managed to balance the budget without raising taxes and fees until this year because council is demanding a city administrator. Mayor, you don't have to hire one. I understand revenue is down but not to the point that you have to raise fees so much, not just for one year but years to come.
Council member Benson commented to me that the city will get no revenue from new homes. That is grossly misunderstood. The city will not get revenue from hookup fees or permits from the MPDs because YarrowBay is building the system. The city will get revenue from the users for water, sewer and stormwater. Not to mention revenue from businesses that new citizens will frequent. The mayor and council need to think about how you are going to pay for positions that the city must have by law in the future. YarrowBay can pull back funding and you will be stuck with how to finance a finance director. The city administrator is not dealing with our growth he is being a liaison between the council and mayor.
I suggest you forego hiring a city administrator and concentrate on how to bank funds for the future when YarrowBay no longer has to pay for your building, computers, paper, copy machine, phones, cars, etc. This city is in a financial crisis and you want to spend taxpayer money on hiring a city manager. Part of the reason citizens voted to keep our form of government is because they have faith and trust in our mayor.
You need to rethink the financial hardship you will be putting on this community and it is twice as bad for "old" Black Diamond. They will be paying for water, sewer and stormwater increases and Lake Sawyer will only be paying for stormwater. I don't care how you sugar coat it, that is not fair. You are taxing out utilities to put money in the general fund to pay for a city administrator.
I urge citizens to come to the town hall meeting Thursday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. and voice your concerns with the 2013 budget.
Kristine A. Hanson