By: Diane Benjamin
I hope your furnace is doing better than mine, it’s down again for the second time in 2 weeks! At least this time we didn’t have to wait 24 hours for our road to be plowed so the repair guy could get here.
Every Ward had their representative show up last night! The previous two meetings had aldermen shortages.
The store at the corner of Hershey and Empire got their Liquor License last night. If you remember, last June the Council hesitated to grant the new owners a liquor license for questionable reasons: https://blnnews.com/2018/06/15/tari-really-wants-sued/
Alderman Hauman pulled the approval from the Consent Agenda for further discussion. She questioned the percent of their sales from alcohol, but the license was eventually approved unanimously.
The meeting didn’t get interesting until they got to the Finance Director’s report. The City finally figured out citizens need to see the documents, not try to read them from a screen! This morning they are posted on the City website: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=20899
Hit play below to hear this part of the meeting.
Maybe next month the reports can finally be included in the packet so people can follow the discussion in real-time instead of seeing the numbers after the facts are presented.
Alderman Sage must have mentioned something about the reports, but he either failed to turn his microphone on or was leaning back too far in his chair to be heard.
The Finance Director inadvertently proved government exists for government (not you) when he mentioned the Utilities Tax receipts are up. This is a tax on electric, gas, water, and telephones. He mentioned the weather is helping them out! It doesn’t matter to the City that this taxes the poor and makes affording these essentials even more difficult. Their bills are going to be ridiculous with this cold, the City tax is making it worse.
The Utilities Tax was increased April 28, 2014 (along with other taxes) when Tari had to have more money or he wouldn’t sign the budget: http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=6699
This was also the meeting where after getting all his tax increases, Tari decided to attack Alderman Stearns for her proposed budget cuts. That video is now approaching 20,000 views from all over the world – Tari is famous! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUfkLVYt5Qc
The Utilities Tax would have generated even more money if people weren’t cutting their home phone lines.
See the tax receipts to date on page 2 ShowDocument
Hotel/Motel taxes are down – why you will probably get a sports complex this year – even if it will never make money.
The report that David Hales use to print has a much longer list of taxes. See what he included: Hales Tax list
(Keep in mind Hales stopped printing this list when people started reading it)
Some of the more interesting items are missing from the current reports: Video Gaming, Building Permits, Package Liquor, Amusement Tax.
Maybe now we can get a complete list – and get it included in the packet!