Mrs. Eveonne Christensen
Get involved in city matters
Athens city revenues are going to be critical as the city moves forward, and sales tax revenues will be negatively impacted for Athens with the new shopping centers in Madison/Huntsville. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Many military contractors and employees of military contracting companies are residents of Athens and Limestone County. The potential sequestering of the military budget could also be disastrous for Athens. The impact of these two elements could mean critical problems for our city’s leadership and citizens.
In the meantime, the city of Athens must realistically operate in anticipation of these disadvantages resulting in a limited revenue growth pattern. No more unnecessary, special interest, funding allocations, expensive CNG pumps, Sportsplex parking lots, ultra-fancy city school administration office buildings or ludicrous salary increases for a city planner who doesn’t even check the requirements for placement of expensive new road signs, etc. For several years, it has been discussed that the city, like every successful entity, needs a long-term financial plan.
Last year, Mayor Marks said that he would submit a three-year financial plan this year, so it could be considered in making budgetary decisions for 2012-2013. He has not provided such a long-term plan.
Any long-term financial and capital plan cannot be of real benefit, or meaning, unless it has had considerable in-depth efforts on developing the facts supporting such a plan. Ralph Diggins has written two letters to the editor in the last month. They are textbook reading for our mayor, City Council president and new council members. His letters outline what successful business and city management is all about. A detailed long-term plan, with quarterly goals to be achieved in the first year, is necessary before there is any further consideration of proposed new spending.
Athens city officials, particularly council members, cannot continue to shoot in the dark regarding the basics in making major financial decisions. The mayor is going to have to reconsider all the big city ideas, without backup revenue sources, not new taxes, for the needless expenditures he has been proposing. Financial transparency doesn’t mean through filters. Fiscal discipline is going to be critical to the successful growth and quality of life for Athens.
Citizens/taxpayers, if you are seriously concerned about Athens’ financial future and taxes, please join Ralph Diggins, me, and others, in attending City Council meetings and writing letters.