Monday, October 4, 2010

Parkersburg Digs Its Own Hole

A mere two years ago, Parkersburg City Council and Mayor Newell voted themselves pay raises. Riverfront parks are being built, a skateboard park, another riverfront park being planned, parking changed on Market St-then changed back the next week, tents bought for the farmers market-ads run, billboard (controversial ones at that) purchased, heat strips placed on the streets near the city buildings, private-albeit city owned park-on 13th St. All is going great.. right?

Sadly, it was recently announced that the city is now over 2 million in the hole? How could this possibly happen? Apparently, the B&O taxes have hit rock bottom-that would be the business and occupation tax..the one that each business within Parkersburg city limits have to pay each quarter or the reason lots of business go to Ohio-like a certain city councilman. St. Joseph Hospital has been sold to a non-profit company and will no longer have to pay these taxes... hmm, no one saw this coming did they?

Mayor Newell has announced his plans to "fix" this budget problem. Geez, this is so simple.. every mayor, governor.. or even the President should give this one a shot. The plan is this-every employee in the City of Parkersburg that has a job will get to contribute a mere $3.00 a week ($156.00/yr) and this will be called a "user tax". Are you getting the feeling that "user" means the city will take what little bit you and I have and continue building parks? Maybe instead of "user", it should be "used".

First and foremost, I just plain don't get it. The city officials didn't see this coming? Good grief, drive down any main street and see the empty buildings. How many businesses have closed over the last two years? Unemployment is evident Parkersburg and the surrounding areas. No business=No B&O tax. No B&O tax=QUIT SPENDING.

City employees have been informed they will not be getting a raise.. and may have to pay some of their increased insurance costs. Well! Isnt that just a damn shame! Hopefully, supervisors will have to cut a few people in each department so that the ones left will actually have to work. How about the code enforcement officer that spends his day driving around the same block? You know, that block that has half a dozen home improvement jobs going and not one of them has a building permit? Building permits=income. Or how bout the perpetual yard sales located all over town, auto repair garages that dont have a business license... these all equate to more income for the city. Guess we need to cut one or two of the code enforcement officers to motivate the others to do their jobs. Oh, and what about that city truck that regularly sits behind Burger King and naps?? Yup, he obviously is no longer needed.. there just isnt enough work to keep all these employees busy! There might not be much street sweeping going on, not really a lot of sense in doing the same streets once a week-time for property owners to pick it up a bit and do some cleaning.. If we dont want the city to rule us, we are going to have to pick it up a notch.

Mayor and City Council just plain screwed up. Maybe it is time for them to decide why they are in these positions. Are they there for income and/or prestige? Or because they have a deep concern for Parkersburg? If it is because they truly care about our city, they can vote their salary out the door-these are now Volunteer positions and they commit to honestly work for the City! Mmm, just food for thought!

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