I do hope that the citizens of Cassville and Barry County are paying attention to the local governing entities. Apparently, they all have determined that this is the kind of economy in which to raise an assortment of taxes and fees.
The Barry County commissioners held a public forum to determine the support or lack thereof for a 3/16th sales tax increase to support law enforcement related expenses. I believe they made a reasonable case for some increase in spending, which would necessitate increased taxes. They stated that the proposed tax would yield $600,000, the majority of which would go towards law enforcement. If you didn't attend the last public forum, please attend any future ones and ask questions.
While I do believe deputies deserve a raise, and recognize that the cost of food and fuel have doubled in the last three years, the commissioners must realize that the very people from whom they are asking more money have had these same increases in costs and likely have not had raises either.
This increase would be on top of the increase the E911 board is requesting. In my opinion, it is difficult to justify any increase there. Again, don't take anything at face value, ask questions.
Then, when you add to those requested increases the doubling of water and sewer rates for those who live in the City of Cassville, you can see why I question whether our elected officials are in touch with the reality of the economy.
The water increase is apparently going to be foisted on us without input from the public. From what I read in the paper, the city council made the decision and we will be permitted to make comments. I most sincerely hope everyone makes their opinion heard.
Before we agree to increase taxes, and accept a doubling of utility rates, should we not insist that those asking for them trim their budgets as much as possible?
The statement by City Manager Eugene Dilbeck that "These rates put control of the water bills in the hands of the consumers" is truly outrageous. He doesn't have to pay city water bills. Those who do already use as little water as possible. I would like to assure him and the rest of the city council that if we had "control" the rates would not be doubling.
One of the things I noticed in these requests for more money was the cry that "if we raise this much more money, we will be eligible for grants." I would like to point out that grants aren't free money. They all come with strings attached, and the unsuspecting taxpayer is the one who is tied to the strings. Every grant will come with restrictions and regulations with which we will be forced to comply.
So, Cassville citizens, and all of Barry County, attend the forums, ask questions, and don't just let elected officials act without your permission.