Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 108
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for October 11, 2001

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Reading between the lines, Warrensburg city staff seems shocked that the city council has directed they balance the city budget for the fiscal year just starting. The surprise isn’t that tax revenues aren’t meeting earlier projections but that the elected officials stood up and said “no!” After years of profligate spending at federal, state and local levels, the economic chickens are coming home to roost.

Warrensburg’s locally-generated revenue comes from three main sources: sales tax, property tax and activities that have use charges. While property taxes fall on city residents (non-resident landlords include the taxes in the rent), county residents help pay for city services by paying Warrensburg’s sales tax when they shop in town. Sales taxes move with the economy, which is a major part of the problem. User fee activities range from the profitable sewer system to the money-losing ambulance service and Parks and Recreation.

Ambulance service can never recover its cost of operation because of constraints placed by rules made by governments higher up the pecking order. The City knew this when they took over the service. County (outside Warrensburg) use is partly blamed for this, and it appears that voters will eventually get to vote on a property tax levy for an ambulance district. Should such a levy pass, the city will free up a lot of money they can then use on their other big loser, the Community Center.

The Park Board’s reported programs to generate more money are chicken scratch compared to the operating deficit at the Community Center (or Taj Mahal as I call it). Remember, the good people of Warrensburg voted a sales tax (paid in part by non-residents) to build the place but turned down a property tax to run it. Operating costs were grossly underestimated, but they still refuse to charge user fees to those who use certain facilities that are in direct competition with private businesses. Among the proposed fees is one for American Legion baseball. The land where the Taj Mahal sits was donated to the City by the Legion with certain restrictions; had the Legion fought the City’s violation of those restrictions the whole matter might still have been in court.

Anyway, kudos to Mayor Rich and the council for standing up for the taxpayer.

| Old Drum Net Home | Gadfly Index |

This website compliments of
Cedarcroft Enterprises
including Cedarcroft Farm Bed & Breakfast
431 Southeast County Road Y, Warrensburg, Missouri, 64093
(660)747-5728 \