To the Editor:
The Sentinel has reported that the city of Fairmont is estimating a 3 percent levy increase to cover a shortfall of approximately $94,000 in next year's budget. While I'm confident that the staff and council have worked diligently to arrive at the proposed budget, I believe a levy increase can and should be avoided.
It's also been reported in the Sentinel that the downtown part-time parking monitor costs about $12,000 per year. Yet tickets issued brought in only $3,000 per year. In the same article, it was stated that this will be tried for one more year. Since it is highly unlikely that repeating this year's experiment again next year will yield different results, this position should be eliminated. This would erase about 10 percent of the expected budget deficit.
In speaking with Mr. Hoye, who was helpful, the budget for snow removal for 2012 was $241,000. Only $108,000 has been expended, leaving $133,000 unspent in the current budget with reasonably only November and December left to threaten expenditure of any portion of that. And given that we are experiencing roughly the same post-July 1 drought pattern that we experienced last year. I find it reasonable to think that a significant portion of that $133,000 could be carried over. This represents another possibility to avoid a levy increase.
I strongly urge the council and staff to keep revisiting the 2013 budget until the need for a levy increase is eliminated. As the council and staff are well aware, many of our citizens are struggling with higher food and energy costs. We must adjust our expenditures to cope. I find it reasonable that we should expect the same from our city government.
Craig S. Nelson,
at-large City Council candidate