Increase city’s economic basis, or taxes are inevitable

By Beth Wythe

Mr. (Chris) Story provides a compelling story by taking information out-of-context (Homer Tribune, Jan. 29). Certainly, not collecting sales tax on food year-round has a substantial financial impact on the ability of the City to fulfill the many obligations approved by the voters (i.e., paying for the library, community schools, maintaining roadways in the winter, etc.). And, certainly there are legal issues the City faces periodically that require decisions to be made to limit potentially larger liabilities the financial repercussions of which would certainly become the responsibility of the taxpayers. However, the council is an elected body charged with making the best decisions they can with the information available.
I appreciate Chris’s concern for the collection of sales tax on food, and that is why I have been the staunchest supporter of not putting the tax back in place without a vote. It is important to note that changes at the Borough level have placed the ability to levy this particular tax squarely in the control of the council. The Homer City Council is the only first-class city in the Borough that elected to honor the vote of the people and eliminate city sales tax for non-prepared foods on a seasonal basis; (a decision they are often chided for by representatives from other communities that did not make the same choice).
The Council does not require a vote to reinstate the tax, but it would be preferable from my perspective.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Story elects to take cheap shots at the council, yet is not offering any solutions to the financial dilemmas the council is required to face on a regular basis. His solutions ask the council to ignore its responsibility to minimize the city’s liability; or, to not bother with providing educational opportunities for citizens to develop a broader understanding of the legal processes of local government.
No matter what actions the council takes, the cost of operating the city will continue to increase, just as the cost of living increases. Action needs to be taken to increase our economic basis, or additional revenues will need to be raised through taxes.
Rest assured that, while we may not be taking action in the way Mr. Story sees fit, the council is working to improve the financial situation of the city without changing our taxes. Maybe Mr. Story would like to be among those enrolling in the citizens’ academy to develop a more accurate understanding of how our local government works.

Beth Wythe is the City of Homer’s current mayor.

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Posted by on Feb 12th, 2014 and filed under Point of View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses for “Increase city’s economic basis, or taxes are inevitable”

  1. John Calhoun says:

    Mayor MacBeth, Thou dust protest too much. Out! Out! damn Chris.

  2. BillyH says:

    So why isn’t the city cutting its budget instead of raising taxes? Why are city employees driving city vehicles home? Who pays for their fuel? Oh silly me, it’s the tax payers. Heck the harbor master lives 10 miles outside of town and he drives his new city vehicle home. So during an average 5 day work week, he has driven a measly 100 miles minimum courtesy of taxpayers. Maybe Ms. Wythe needs to grow up and quit screwing her neighbors out of their hard earned money. Hooray for concerned citizens like Chris Story.

  3. makes ya wonder says:

    First of all, Thank you Chris Story, for waking so many people up to the waste and mismanagement of the city funds while they blame us for not paying enough tax on our food.

    Is anyone else wondering about their HEA bills? If this is how the mayor feels about the management of city funds, what is going on at HEA under her management?

    Is HEA mindlessly wasting money on educational events, scholarships and advertising while our bills continue to go up to outrageous levels? Why are we paying the highest cost for power in the country? We might have a management problem.

  4. DK1970 says:

    Ipads, new furniture, remodeled city hall, 200,000 dollar bathrooms, high maintenance on bathrooms and library, wasted study reports, sensual park benches, anyone see a pattern here? the highest water bills in the world, monthly sales tax on rents, property taxes, sales tax on services, on and on… this city gets enough money… they just need to figure out how to spend it wisely… deal with what is important not their frivolous agenda…. and not their overblown egos that they are some how more important than they really are… you are volunteers elected to do a job for the people who pay into the coffers to make it work… do the right thing and make it work without all the drama….

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