By Bonnie Rusinko
The 2018-19 proposed budget is currently before the Waxhaw Board of Commissioners for review before it is approved/disapproved on June 12.
Are you aware of the possibility of a tax increase and/or vehicle and solid waste fees that could be assessed to Waxhaw taxpayers?
Disappointing, to say the least, that it took only seven short months for commissioners Tracy Wesolek and Brenda McMillon to quickly fall back on their campaign promises and seemingly follow Commissioner Fred Burrell’s suggestions and motions to approve all developers’ requests, regardless of the increase in traffic to our roadways (190 high-density homes and one commercial zoning).
And while reviewing the proposed budget, they agreed to assess citizens a fee of $25 per vehicle registered in town to help fund public street projects. This fee could be a tool to increase, at will, more funds when needed.
These same three commissioners also agreed to increase our taxes from $0.36 up to $0.39 to help cover the increase cost of solid waste/recycling/leaf pickup. The town manager stated for every home added to Waxhaw, it causes a deficit in service. My question: Why continue to approve development of high-density residential if it causes more traffic and costs more than is collected for solid waste services?
It was unbelievable these three commissioners agreed to add fees and taxes on taxpayers without first reviewing line items of expenses to cut back on spending.
Commissioner Burrell commented it was not the board’s job to scrutinize each line item of the budget. I disagree because the taxpayers elected him to be good stewards of their money.
Excluding the police and fire services, areas that could be cut back are $198,000+ for events, $283,000+ for consulting fees (includes money for part-time consultant on staff); $345,000+ for professional fees; and the purchase of a truck and $16,450 for new programs for the parks & rec could wait until next year.
Why lease parking areas when the corner lot used for events could be used? A freeze on salaries and bonuses would at least save $110,000-plus and could be more if you limit dues/subscriptions and some training.
I am not anti-bonus or anti-salary increase and I am sure everyone deserves it, however, it is unfair to impose fees and tax increases on the taxpayers, especially those who can’t afford it, yet, give town employees salary increases and bonuses. We are all in this together until such time the town’s finances are once again healthy and stable. These are but a few areas of concern.
Although commissioners Kat Lee and Brenda Burns have voiced their opinions concerning these recent unfair assessments and possible tax increase, their protests and reasons seem to fall on deaf ears. However, there is hope that once the board reviews all areas of the proposed budget, at least a majority will agree and decide against all fees and the tax increase.
Taxpayers need to get involved and let their concerns be heard before the budget is approved on June 12.