Reader’s Comment to “Painting Over the Rot”
Gren Whitman says :
Liz Smith: Thanks for your report/analysis of last Thursday’s Town Council meeting. Below is a list of budget-related questions that Mayor Jones was unable to answer — or refused to answer.
MR. JONES, in your letter to the Kent County News, you wrote: “We continue to explore ways to address budgetary concerns.”
QUESTION: What “ways” have you explored?
MR. JONES, in your letter to the Kent County News, you wrote: “While an ‘easy fix’ would be to raise taxes on our citizens, a majority of Council members are committed to first pursuing and exhausting every other possible option.”
QUESTION: Because this is the first we’ve heard of this, what options are you “pursuing”? What options are you “exhausting”?
MR. JONES, in your recent letter to the Kent County News, you stated: “Rock Hall currently faces the same challenges of municipalities throughout Maryland.”
QUESTION: Can you identify another town on the Eastern Shore with its credit frozen and which is facing having its loans called? Any other town in Maryland?
MR. JONES, in your most recent State of the Town address (May 17), you reported that the town’s finances are “challenged.” You also reported that the Town has a lower unrestricted reserve compared to prior years as well as an increasing amount of debt. You also reported that it is time to consider increasing the property tax rates and utility rates for the next fiscal year. Yet, on Facebook, you continue to post that you will fight against raising property taxes and utility rates.
QUESTION: So, which is it? Will you support raising property taxes as needed? Yes or no. Will you support raising utility rates as needed? Yes or no.
MR. JONES, in September 2015 (four years ago), you and Vice Mayor Kuechler were given a proposal to raise revenue from new sources. This estimate of $66,925 in new revenues included: Permits for Temporary Signs ($17,000); Using the Town Web Site ($3,625); Public Events Reimbursements ($10,300); Property Transfer Fees ($30,000); Campsite Rentals ($3,000); and Advertising Space at Town Ballparks ($3,000).
QUESTION: What steps have you taken to follow up on this proposal for new revenue?
MR. JONES, in your recent letter to the editor, you state that the reason the Town is in a financial mess is because of the cost of the upgrades to the clarifier and the Catholic Avenue project. However, those were planned expenses.
QUESTION: Why wasn’t any action taken at budget time to account for the increase in debt service?
MR. JONES, there are continuing complaints about brown water.
QUESTION: Why do I have to pay 30% more for brown water?
MR. JONES, that taken-out-of-service Town police vehicle is still parked in your driveway.
QUESTION: Have you purchased this car from the Town? If not, when does the Town plan to sell it? Actions are louder than words.