Before I split I would like to point something out. The mood of this community towards tax increases and rate hikes was clearly on display at last night's City Council meeting. Despite what was a clear and strong call for raising the Utility User Tax to 12% by the UUT Oversight Committee, the City Council could not do it. Not that they didn't want to, because it seemed fairly obvious to me that they did. Certainly they had been building towards making that happen over the last few meetings. But politically it would have been disastrous for them. So they blinked. They have clearly heard your voices. And the message received was, "Enough!"
We have reached a tipping point in Sierra Madre. Does City government stay as it has for the last decade or so, or do we return to something smaller, less obtrusive and financially less demanding? Clearly we now have a City Council that believes in staying the big spending course, and grabbing every dime needed to remain there.
And if you don't believe me, please consider that last night they approved the spending of $30,000 (or was that $50,000?) for a consultant to study our grocery consumption habits. An ethically oblivious and absurd spend in a time when many of our neighbors are having trouble making ends meet, and the rest of us worry that we might soon be joining them. Life in the private sector is like that these days, in case they hadn't heard. They should also understand that nobody is immune.
But this City Council is also hearing footsteps. And if they want the voters to renew their commitment to double digit UUT rates next spring, then, as Chris Koerber pointed out, they had better not heed the UUT Oversight Committee's call for a tax increase. Because otherwise their UUT dreams will "go down in flames" at the hands of the voters next April. And with it large and expensive government in Sierra Madre.
No matter how much "conversation" they hope to have with the taxpayers.
The people of Sierra Madre won a big victory last night. Make no mistake about it. Now we will have some decisions to make. Things are changing, and I believe for the better. Like I said, we are at a tipping point.
I have had the incredible privilege of being asked to ride with John Shear, our world renowned Hometown Hero, in this year's 4th of July Parade. And I have humbly accepted that honor. The Shears are close and dear friends to me and my family, and have been with me on my great adventures (and misadventures) in the world of politics. And my victories, as well. True friendships are rare in life, and I have been blessed with some.
I look forward to seeing you all at the 4th of July Parade. Let's celebrate America together, and the coming rebirth of Sierra Madre as well.