To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Once again the mayor and City Council have raised our business and residential taxes without any evidence of looking for ways to reduce city expenses. In addition to this, the taxpayers, except for very few of us, have accepted the increase without any challenge. Of course, more emphasis was placed on the rate for business taxes then residential, but this is understandable if we want to keep people employed.
I have written letters and attended numerous City Council meetings over the past three years asking why there never seem to be studies into reducing city spending and expenses and have never received an explanation that had merit. The taxpayer is still waiting for an explanation and discovery into the loss of millions of dollars in a federal educational grant that was allowed to slip through the cracks a year ago without anyone being held responsible. This grant could have eased the financial burden on the city and taxpayers. Yet no explanation from those who are elected by and sworn to serve the taxpayer. How much of this tax increase will go to education? If any, here is another reason to explain why the city missed the timeline for the educational grant. At a time when everyone is feeling financial burdens, the city continues to add to those burdens.
The city will spend $75,000 on a North Street parking study. This same $75,000 could have been used to investigate the education grant blunder and study the number of unnecessary positions held by people in city government, consolidate positions where possible and reduce spending to give the taxpayer a break next year.
Another issue that was never explained or justified was the hiring of former North Adams Mayor Barrett by Mayor Ruberto, at $85,000, for him to conduct a study into saving the city money. Did the study recover the expense of Barrett’s $85,000 fee and where are the savings resulting from the study? It did however, keep Mr. Barrett employed while he waited for his retirement to kick in. Once again, a waste of taxpayer money.
The mayor and city councilors need to set their priorities for what is better for all, not just the selected few. If not, it will be up to the taxpayers to look for new leadership during the next election, new leadership that will reduce spending not increase it every year.