Over the last month, the Kings Mountain City Council has been developing its budget for the next year. It will be presented and discussed at the June 15th Council Meeting and voted on at their meeting on June 27th.
A key component of this budget… A TAX HIKE.
And not only a property tax hike, but also an increase to Water and Sewer Fees.
And Stormwater Fees.
And Solid Waste Fees.
And if you want to count a change to building permit fees – which will also be a fee increase – there are at least 5 different tax and fee hikes proposed in this budget.
The question is… why does our City need these tax and fee hikes? And why must we embrace them?
The answer is pretty simple: more than a decade of gross negligence and financial mismanagement from our City Council, Mayor, and former City Administration has left a budgetary mess for our new City Manager, Mr. Jim Palenick, to deal with. He has the professional training and experience that has been severely lacking in City Hall, and he is sounding the financial alarms. In this case, don’t shoot the messenger. He’s simply delivering the hard news – our City has a myriad of needs and problems that can only be dealt with through tax and fee hikes.
We need to repave roads. We need new fire trucks and police cars. We need leaf trucks (won’t those be a welcome sight again?). We need to fill open positions in the Police Department. We need new parks and upgrades to the ones we have.
We need those things yet haven’t been getting them because City Hall, the Council and the Mayor have consistently deferred them, failed to address them, or mismanaged the budget so badly that there was no room left for them. That’s when they’d go and rob the electric fund just to make the budget balance (more on that later…)
Many citizens have long thought that City Hall was dropping the ball when it came to training and experience. But while we were thinking this… the former city management, the long-time members of the Council and our career politician Mayor have been applauding and cheering. While our long-time Council members slept through meetings, played on their phones, or were just plain confused, the city’s funds were being drained while needs went unmet.
Yet again, Council and the Mayor were asleep at the wheel. Except when it came to paying for parties and events and their car allowances. All while NOT fixing our roads and crumbling infrastructure.
We deserve it – we guess. We voted for them. And that can change.
Instead of guiding our community, the long-time members of the Council and our Mayor guided us directly into a financial ditch. And that’s why we now need tax and fee hikes just to pay for road repairs and basic needs like fire trucks. In the case of our Stormwater program, we need fee hikes just to become compliant and avoid massive fines from state and federal regulators.
These Council members and the Mayor can either learn from their mistakes and get on board – or get replaced. But given that most of them have been sitting in City Hall since the Bush Administration and making the same mistakes over and over again… well, you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks.
So, a special thank you goes out to our long-time council members (Miller, Rhodes, Hawkins and Butler) and our Mayor for the tax hike coming our way.
Thank you for running us into a financial ditch that will take a major tax hike to climb out of.
Just like we have to climb out of the potholes in our roads.