Better options than applying surcharge | Letters | Dec. 18
December 18, 2009 · 10:25 AM
It was to be expected that the City Council would vote for the utility surcharge, and that is a shame. As Bill Knobloch asserted, the vote is an expression of a failure. It was a failure that could have been averted.
Apart from the budgetary and bonding difficulties faced by the city, the surcharge will be a burden on those islanders least able to afford it. The council had other alternatives and failed to take them under serious consideration. Among other things, the council could have supported a Utility Local Improvement District where in those benefitting most by the situation would carry the heaviest burden.
Those who stand to benefit most are the major owners of the real estate on and around the Winslow area. Under our current economic circumstances, many of the shops along Winslow may well disappear within a year or two, leaving the major real estate owners in that area a marvelous opportunity to gain all sorts of credits to redevelop the area to look far different from its present appearance and functions.
Those owners should have been burdened happily with the costs because they will certainly be the future beneficiaries.
Unfortunately the council, perhaps weary from a tough year, refused to see this and other means and approved a surcharge that will be toughest on those least able to shoulder costs.
Council members will also have to accept responsibility for what they have wrought when they encounter the people in the community on whom they will have imposed this burden that could have been mitigated substantially.