Let’s be more fiscally sensible

By From page A6 | February 04, 2014

Enough! We are not made of money. This city doesn’t need to be the leader in everything; we can’t afford it!

We do not need to study having our own publicly owned utility! We do not need this. In the end, how different will this be from having PG&E as our utility company? After all, aren’t we giving up our water management to a private company?

And isn’t it enough that our water rates are going to go sky-high and that we undoubtedly will see our garden refuse pickup costs go up soon? Isn’t it enough that we are facing the prospect having to pay additional taxes to fund street repairs that have been deferred for more exotic street projects? (One of these projects is that ever-so-foolish project to reduce the number of vehicle lanes on perhaps the most important east/west collector street in our community — Fifth Street. I guarantee that project will result in horrific congestion during commute times and events. I hope that all emergencies involving the adjacent fire station have the good grace of occurring outside those times.)

And then, not only have the number of parking spaces downtown been incrementally reduced in the face of increased need for parking, but we are, no doubt, soon expected to no longer enjoy free parking in our downtown. I’m sure the merchants will be thrilled when their customers have been driven away.

And, what makes anyone imagine it would be better or less expensive to own our own utility company? After a career in public works, I can guarantee that the feasibility study will look very promising and not come across as an unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky scenario. Why? Because the study will mirror the hoped-for outcome of the sponsors. The real costs and difficulties will escalate and ultimately it will cost much more.

I’m horrified that we’ve already spent $400,000 on this and have borrowed $600,000 from the wastewater treatment fund.

Please, let’s start being more fiscally sensible in this city.

Joan Bollman


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