Sometimes I wonder if Karen Benker wants to lose this election. Maybe she has plans for running for some other office in 2010. Because with still a lot of ballots not yet sent in, a week to go before Election Day, and with a financially struggling constituency, why would anyone in their right mind propose a tax increase? A significant one at that. Oh, I know, it’s not a tax, but a fee. Whatever.
At the unusually short October 27, 2009 Longmont City Council meeting, during the often entertaining “Council Comments” section, Ms. Benker asked that the city council look into “rounding up” utility bills, and that she is in favor of it. At first I shuddered when she mentioned “rounding up”, figured it was her political enemies she had in mind, sort of how she’s working the LFCPA and the Election Committee.
But she was talking about an idea that’s been brought up before, and shot down every time. At first glance it doesn’t sound so terrible, take your $101.35 City of Longmont utility bill and just make it $102, and give the difference to non-profits. But that’s not the whole story, but you probably already figured that out by now.
The reason this has been shot down before is because what’s actually rounded up is each individual component of your utility bill, like Water, Waste Water, Trash, Electricity etc. The previous discussion included the fact that there are often 7 to 10 components of each utility bill. Meaning your bill could actually go up $7 to $10 a month! And, in the past, the discussion was that this amount would not go into some pot for non-profits, it would go into the General Fund. From there, as always, City Council would decide how to deal with that money, which may (or may not) include more (or less) money to non-profits.
Now is Ballot Question 2Cstarting to mean something different? If the City gets into this business (which I believe they would do a terrible job at), it’s just one more thing to tack all kinds of taxes, or fees, onto.
And I’m not buying this “voluntary” stuff. It was never discussed as a “voluntary” rounding up, it was a means to get more money to fix ever shrinking tax revenues, and out of control spending. There have been some angry people about this “quality of life” (is that some kind of joke?) fee, this proposed idea of Karen Benker’s would eclipse that easily.
Bad idea before, and still a bad idea, from a hopefully soon to be former city councilmember. How else do you read it other than a vote for Karen Benker is a vote for higher fee’s and taxes?