Tax money comes from the people

To the Editor,

The yearly city audit consists of a cumbersome document that only a CPA would understand. So, for the average citizens who wish to keep informed, the city publishes on their website a condensed seven-page financial statement of general revenue and departmental expense totals. That is the document that shows Transit consistently costing an average of $350,000 a year more than they receive in fares. In private enterprise that is called an unsustainable loss. To cover that loss, the city receives $300,000 per year in grants from the federal government as transit manager Ms. Donna Gialluco stated in her letter to the editor last Sunday. If one is not on the inside, one would not know that fact since the grant she refers to as a “pass through” is not specifically indicated for transit on the city’s financial statement tailored for public consumption. Out of a $20 million budget for fiscal year 2017-18, revenue lists federal grants totaling $320,000. They could have been for the water, the police, the fire or other departments. Ms. Gialluco indicates only $52,000 comes from local sources, but in reality it all comes from the local taxpaying public who pay federal income taxes as well as state and local. However, I do stand corrected, comparing the police and fire service fee to the city affordability of the yearly $350,000 transit loss.

The overall point I am trying to make is locally our taxes are escalating, which is reflected in a 21 percent increase in the city budget during Mayor Miller’s administration. If you recall, he promised, when campaigning, to rescind the B&O tax when the 1 percent city sales tax went into effect. He has yet to request council rescind any tax and he won’t because government entities quickly adapt to the increased revenue from increased taxes. Just look at the police and fire department budgets since the mayor took office; the police budget increased 38 percent and the fire department 58 percent!

When people get elected to office, they seem to lose both their common sense and their money sense. When it is their money, they are generally frugal. When it is public money, they seem to toss it around like peanuts. A good example is paying a firm $30,000 to determine the feasibility of building a convention center in Weirton. Really? And while we are at it, where is this study? Who has read it?

When you have a transit system that loses $350,000 a year for over a decade that I estimate serves less than 2 percent of the population, regardless which governmental entity subsidizes it, it is time to rethink the idea. Surely there is a more cost effective and efficient way to serve the actual need as opposed to justifying one’s existence by dreaming up ways to be needed, like using an 18-passenger bus to act as a cab service!

When entitites receive governmental grants, they tend to view it as free money. It is not. It is coming out of individual taxpaying citizens’ pockets and should be viewed and administered as such.

Blaise Hogan



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