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The problem with local taxing authorities | Federal Way letters
I am writing this letter to let the Federal Way City Council know that they are not the only taxing authority in town. Please consider that we, the taxpayers, are also obligated to the county, state and federal governments for their taxes, not to mention the increases in our utilities.
Other than the six years that I served for our country in the U.S. Army, I have lived in this area most of my adult life. I am retired after working 25 years for King County, and nearing my 60th birthday. I worked hard along with my wife and we raised our three children in this area. Not all of our investments worked out, but we invested wisely enough to survive the downturn of the economy so far. We kept a rainy day fund to be able to survive these kinds of situations.
What concerns me is that we, the taxpaying citizens, after dealing with all the above governments with their budget cuts, cutting of programs, cutting of employees, furlough days off and, yes, raising taxes due to bad projections and poor forecasting, are faced with the same problems right here in our own city. It’s hard to stomach. What happened to the rainy day fund the city had?
Am I to believe that our city council members have the same deficit and fiscal problems within their own households' budgets that we face as a city? And if you don’t, why would you vote for a budget that is different than the way you budgeted within your own household? We, as citizens, are held accountable for our household budgets. Why aren’t you?
I am also concerned that in November 2006, the voters were asked and then passed an additional utility tax levy of 1.75 percent to fund an additional 18 police officers. It is confusing. If all 18 of these positions were filled, why did the city allow cameras in the area to monitor speed limits and stop lights? Why has the city passed a new ordinance making inattentive driving an infraction? We either need fewer officers because we have cameras to do the job, or more officers because of the new vague ordinance. Can we the taxpaying citizens expect a refund or will the utility tax decrease when you cut these positions?
More concerns include movement behind the city taxpayers owning property where the city council would like to build high-rise buildings. I don’t understand. I drive around the city and see nothing but vacancies. Just look in the immediate area of City Hall. Do we want more vacancies in both business and the home rental markets? I don’t think you are getting the message, but businesses and families are not looking to move here.
Lastly, I ask those running for city mayor, what are you going to do differently as mayor that you could or should have done while serving on the city council or as a state legislator?
I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution. Here are some of my ideas, and believe me, I do have more.
1. Why don’t we sell the high-rise property and let the professionals deal with the buildings? If we sell the property, it should take care of the deficit for the next couple of years, while the new mayor rebuilds the city budget. Let’s be grateful and clean up what we already have until the economy is better.
2. Start a tax/budget commission for the City of Federal Way. This would generate new and fresh ideas.
3. Save the rainy day fund until we actually need to use it, like now.
4. Lastly, city council members should take action now, not wait until November. Stop waving signs on street corners — we know who you are. Now show us what you are.
Like most Americans, I am still looking for someone that I can trust and who has the integrity to truly represent the people by listening to what we want come this fall, and not continue to raise taxes. Do we know of anyone? If you’re out there, I’ll give you my vote.
Marv Hoffman, Federal Way