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TAXES: Tapping a drying well

| December 24, 2010 3:28 AM

Unemployment in Kootenai County is up to 12.9 percent and over 2,000 homeless walk our streets seeking aid!

Homes are still being foreclosed on and people are still losing their jobs and businesses are closing. But that doesn't stop the City Council from giving their employees pay raises when other cities are laying employees off and freezing salaries. "Everything is rosy in River City, folks."

Raising our taxes even 1.5 percent in this economy is poor judgment because of a budget shortfall, yet they have no problem spending $125,000 for another study on what to do with McEuen Field! A blatant misuse of taxpayers' money, when our police and fire departments are understaffed, need new equipment, vehicles etc. Our Street Department doesn't have enough equipment to adequately plow residential streets.

If the city is so hard up for revenue, then require that all businesses operating within the city obtain a business license from City Licensing to operate for a yearly fee. Also require all those mobile taco and hamburger stands that have popped up in every parking lot be licensed and routinely checked by Panhandle Health for cleanliness and the workers tested for Hepatitis B.

Another source of income that the city is missing out on is the door to door solicitors; they should be required to obtain a solicitors' license from the city for a fee with a picture ID.

Parking meters should be installed downtown. They would generate thousands of dollars monthly, and it's time to impose a motel tax like other tourist towns have done.

Then we have two more money grabbers who in spite of hard times want more taxpayers' money. NIC will be taking their 3 percent of our property tax on top of the city's 1.5 percent increase, and let's not forget about District 271 with another levy vote in March. Because the budget they passed in 2009 isn't enough, this is a prime example of poor management. They should take a hint from the rest of us: "If you can't pay for it, don't buy it" and cut back.

But these people don't live in the real world. They have an agenda and don't care about the burden it places on those who are on fixed incomes, etc. District 271 says it is only $173 more a year if your house is valued at $200,000, but add on the city's 1.5 percent and NIC's 3 percent plus $173. Do the math.

One day the well will run dry.

W.L. RATHBURN

Coeur d'Alene

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