Weirton has problems

To the Editor,

The city has a $2.6 million surplus this year. One could claim they are doing a great job fiscally running the city with the implication the city is being run more efficiently. Maybe. But what is more likely is we are being overtaxed. For example, the city assesses each residence $50 a year for a “Police and Fire Service Fee.” That is an inventive way of taxing the nonprofits. All government services are paid for by taxes, regardless of what you choose to call them. So supposedly, the city does not have sufficient revenue to pay for police and fire protection, thus the “service fee,” yet it can subsidize the bus system $350,000 a year for the last 10 years. To put it in perspective, that is 7,000 residences taxed with a $50 a year “service fee” or $3.5 million to date.

After 25 years heading the building department, Rod Rosnick bid and was transferred to head Public Works. The problem is, his departure left the city without anyone qualified to approve plans. So they hired Thrasher Engineering at $50,000 a year. I don’t call that efficiency, I call that crazy! That is equivalent to 1,000 houses taxed at $50 each. I don’t blame Rosnick for taking advantage of a city policy, but the policy should be tailored to serve the taxpayer’s interest as well.

Whey the city let Mike Burchill, with his wealth of talent and electrical experience, walk is beyond me, but now they are forced to hire an outside company from Wheeling on an emergency service basis at top dollar.

Our garbage rate increased this month, but the men still have not been hired with benefits. Nor are they supplied with water in this 90 degree heat or sufficient manpower! So, for the last two weeks, our garbage, grass and recycle have been dumped together!

Every organization wants to expand. The city is no exception, thus the idea of a convention center. Supposedly, it is not going to cost city residents anything since the funds are coming from TIF. But is it practical? Recently, council discussed changing residency requirements for employees because it is claimed the city is having difficulty hiring qualified candidates because of the requirement. If folks don’t wish to live here even after being offered a job, why would groups wish to hold their conventions here? What do we have beside strip joints and gambling parlors to make us a convention center destination, when Pittsburgh, with all its cultural attractions, is less than an hour away? We already have had three venues close: the K of C, Colliers Fire Hall and the Serbian Cultural Center. Who will be responsible for an underused convention center that loses money? The taxpayer disguised as another “service fee.”

Before venturing off into the wild blue yonder, the city should learn how to proficiently provide the services they already deliver. Until the city figures out how to consistently keep our streets paved, which is a basic service, they are not to be trusted with pipe dream.

Blaise Hogan