Thursday, August 7, 2014

Commissioner Murguia explains "no" vote on 2015 UG budget

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- Last week in a story about the Unified Government passing its 2015 fiscal year budget, I quoted Unified Government Commissioner Jim Walters extensively on why he voted against the budget.

On Wednesday, UG Commissioner Ann Murguia posted her thoughts on the budget and I thought I would pass them along on here. Whenever an elected official takes time to communicate with his or her constituents, that correspondence needs to be spread across all outlets of communication.

You can view her Facebook page here.

Below is word for word from her account:
The 2015 budget passed last Thursday and I wanted to provide all of you my personal vote on the 7 budget items.
1) First vote was adoption on the "Consolidated Plan". This deals with HOME and CDBG money from the federal government. I voted YES!

2) The PILOT. This stands for Payment In Lieu of Taxes. It is the fee the BPU pays to the UG instead of property tax. We voted on keeping the rate the same - NO INCREASE. The PILOT clearly generates more revenue than taxes would generate. Therefore this would cause significant budget shortfalls for the UG to do away with the PILOT. Changing this over night won't happen but developing a plan to change over time could and should happen. I voted YES! for now.

3) Sewer service rate. This is a fee the UG charges to help pay for a FEDERAL MANDATE by EPA to separate storm water from sewer. I don't like it but voting no would only result in a federal law suit that we would lose. Not even debatable. I voted YES!

4) Solid Waste. This is your trash removal. We get a better trash rate for our citizens by having the UG solicit bids on behalf of all the residents. I don't like the thought of people taking trash removal into their own hands. We have enough illegal dumping. I voted YES!

5) Wyandotte County Library Board. It did not change I voted YES!

6) SSMID budget for downtown. The majority of businesses in a specific geographic area of downtown KCK choose to tax themselves to pay people to keep trash picked up off the streets, do landscaping and a variety of other types of beautification efforts. I believe if people want to tax themselves that is up to them. I voted YES!

7) Annual Budget. This is the piece that sets our mil levy and determines the city and county tax rate. It was decreased in KCK by 2 mils and increased by 2 mils in Bonner and Edwardsville. Though I do not represent anyone outside the city. I was opposed to an increase anywhere, including Bonner and Edwardsville. I voted NO!