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More comments made at Tuesday’s utility tax workshop

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Resident Lawrence Yegge “My question is, we laid off 60 some people, and I’m wondering what’s been done as far as reducing the cost of administration in the city, because I see salaries of over $200,000 for the city manager and $140,000 for the assistant city manager. I went on the web and found the average salary for city managers across the United States, and it’s less than $100,000. Something that needs to be done before I agree to any more taxes is to take steps first to reduce costs.” Mayor Tom Cosgrove:” The range of salaries have a minor impact on the General Fund. We’re focusing on issues we can to fix General Fund issues.” Resident Fred Gibbs In looking at all the documents, they have the city’s investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that’s $25 million in one and $5 million in the other. Even if we reduce the police force by four, we can’t go lower than four, and we’re down already when we have a fire chief that goes out on calls at night. Why don’t we have money invested and utilize it in the General Fund? Anna Jatczak: “That money’s invested for all funds within the city so the use is restricted. The only funds we’re able to use are funds that are directly attributed to the General Fund. The investments are designated for one future purpose.” Resident Wes Ritchie “I’m curious. This thing tells me the most I’m going to have to pay for the utility users’ tax is $300? If that’s all I have to spend, you’re making this too good.” Terrie Robinson: “I guess I’m troubled by the idea that those who are in opposition to this tax are opposed to police and fire services. I don’t think anybody is opposed to the main services; they just have an honest disagreement for about how to do that. I encourage people to remember that there are people of good will on both sides of the argument and no one is opposed to police and fire.” David Gordon “Fifty percent of us will pay $300 or less a year and some $12 to $20 a month. Now, we can afford that. The issue of communication to the public is not a semantic delusion, it’s not a need to educate, and here I take issue with the language of the City Council (in regards to $54,000 spent by city to hire a consultant to educate citizens about Measure K.) It’s the responsibility of these two bodies to inform, not to educate. We educate in school. We inform citizens on what the responsibilities and benefits are.” Randy Walter: “I’m not crazy about paying taxes but I don’t have a problem with paying a utility tax if it will help benefit the city. I’m 100 percent supportive of fire and police but not real crazy on spending money on the library because they are not doing anything for us when my house is on fire or someone’s breaking in my back door. I’m being taxed higher than some people that may be paying less. We all receive the same services and expect the same services when dialing 911.”- Walker stated earlier in the workshop that he would prefer a flat tax for everybody rather than taxing 3.75 of their bills. Lincoln Library Director Darla Wegener (in response to Walter’s comment): “If we don’t have libraries and we don’t have recreation, police and fire have a multitude of work to do.”