Monday, July 10, 2006

Another reason NOT to vote for any Republicans or Democrats

I am a fiscal conservative. I believe that we should minimize government spending and that we should pay for projects as we go.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats feel as I do. This is becoming more and more apparent on the National, State, and local levels...

Consider Fort Wayne and Allen County. Our combined tax burden is 100.1% of the National average. In other words, we pay SLIGHTLY more in taxes then the average locality in the US.

That may change for many residents in the near future...

One of the things that makes me most angry at our elected Republicans and Democrats in this area is the fact that they DO NOT PLAN for the future at all. Not one little bit.

There are three HUGE projects that will most likely be funded locally in the next couple of years. They may change this area drastically.

1. The first project is the CSO project. Fort Wayne has a combined overflow system for sewer and for stormwater. For environmental reasons this is a bad system... I have read several estimates of the cost of bringing all Fort Wayne into compliance with the new environmental laws. The costs would be STAGGERING. One estimate said that we could pay for it if we QUADRUPLED the fees associated with our sewers and stormwater systems. Floating even more munincipal bonds is another option. The MINIMUM requirements could cost as much as 200 million dollars and the maximum requirements would cost over half a BILLION dollars.

2. The second project is the new bonds that FWCS is likely to propose next year. These bonds will most likely range between 200 and 300 million dollars.

3. The third item is the fact that The City of Fort Wayne's police and fire pensions are massively underfunded. Dan Stockman wrote a great article about this in the JG this weekend.
According to the above article the pre-1977 fire and police pension fund has ZERO dollars in it. Fort Wayne is currently paying 7.5 million dollars a year out of the current budget to pay this cost each year. Under current State law this will double in 2009 when Indiana stops paying into this fund. This cost is expected to increase through 2028 and then to slowly decrease...
This is a great example of Government screwing things up. There is no reason to ever start a pension fund and expect future tax payers to foot the bill unless you are a Republican or Democrat.

It infuriates me that Fort Wayne insists on wasting our money on projects that a majority of us do not want rather then save money for the future. Here are some good examples:

1. Fort Wayne seized Belmont Beverages property downtown with Eminent Domain 5 years ago at a cost of 2.1 million dollars. Fort Wayne STILL has not decided what to do with that property it stole.

2. Fort Wayne is trying to take my private utility up by Pine Valley with Eminent Domain. Fort Wayne has ALREADY spent MILLIONS of dollars for legal fees.

Any prudent Government organization should immediately stop all of these frivolous projects and should start cutting costs NOW. We need to save money to pay for projects that are coming down the pipe...

I am an Accountant. If you read this blog you will often read posts concerning unfunded liabilities and what I think will happen in the future due to the fiscal irresponsibility of both Reps and Dems.

I have looked at our local property taxes and made some assumptions below, here is how bad it could get:


1. Lets assume that Fort Wayne decides to do a large CSO project and that the cost is about 200 million dollars and that it is paid for with bonds. Lets say it starts in 2010.

2. Lets assume FWCS gets their Marketing firm from Indy to convince the taxpayers of FWCS to approve a 200 million dollar bond (Less then FWCS wanted in 2004). Lets say it starts in 2008.

3. Lets assume the State of Indiana decides that Fort Wayne should pay its own pension costs for police and firefighters hired before 1977... Starting in 2009 Fort Wayne would have to come up with about 16 million dollars a year. (Note Fort Wayne takes in about 112 million dollars in various local taxes).

These three projects alone (Assuming NO NEW PROJECTS OF ANY KIND) would end up causing our taxes to increase in a massive way. It would depend on interest rates and the length of the needed bond issues. These three projects would AT A MINIMUM cause our local taxes to DOUBLE.

So what do our elected officials do about it?

They are talking about demolishing a perfectly good baseball stadium (12 years old) and relocating downtown...

Lets elect some people with some common sense...

Mike Sylvester


Robert Enders said...

A common trick among politicians is to start projects that will not require a tax increase untill they are safely out of office.

Jeff Pruitt said...

The CSO architecture is just a bad, bad idea. The entire system really needs to be rebuilt. Maybe we need a catch phrase - "the solution to pollution is not dilution". Johnny Cochran would be proud.

The civil engineering and planning in this city is pathetic and all those who have helped bring it to its current sorry state should be embarrassed. And these are the same people who are going to revitalize downtown by moving a single A baseball stadium - it'll work right?

Just another example of a lack of accountability...