Quentin Burke: City’s Survival Hinges On Vote

To The Editor:

The young man at the Citizenship Ceremony in Calexico a year or two back was
beaming all over his face as he enjoyed the accolades of his supportive family.
“My dad told me if I came to this country, I needed to work hard, get my Citizenship and pay my taxes,” he said.
“I’ve worked hard, paid my taxes, and now I’ve got my Citizenship.”
I found it instructive that this man’s father had emphasized paying taxes. He obviously knew from his experience in his home country, what rampant evasion and non-payment of taxes can do to a community.
That’s why I find it important as Election Day approaches, to invite my fellow citizens of Holtville to get out and vote “no” on all three User Utility Tax  (UUT) propositions.
A “yes” vote on any of these propositions cripples our City in its attempt to  maintain its current quality of life. The UUT provides almost 20% of the City’s  budget. Ask the City Treasurer. No way can the City handle law enforcement, fire  repression and paramedic response levels plus maintain our parks without it.
Plus, our parks acreage is expanding and will require more labor and utility expenses.
There was no “sunset” clause in the legislation as passed by the City Council and approved by voters in the 1990s because all knew the tax was essential to the maintenance and survival of the City.
Which school of economic theory can supporters of eliminating the UUT be following? Alice-in-Wonderland Economics 101? The tax is a fair tax, voter-approved and evenly applied. It is not burdensome. One who is against the tax figures it is costing a dollar a day for his family.
If I understand him correctly, another said his UUT tax, among others, had forced him to go from
full-service cable TV to basic! Small price to pay for the privilege of living in our Jewel City East of the Alamo!
Have the utilities tax “eliminators” looked around town lately? Have they seen   CalTrans making improvements at our City’s west entrance? Have they been down to   Ninth Street to see street improvements there? Have they looked on Fourth Street at the new City water tank, in place just-in-time to take over after the Easter   earthquake last year? Did they hear about the Federal grant we’re going to be getting to help with costs of replacing the old sewage line out to the sewage plant?
All these projects, and many others, are made possible by Federal and State tax dollars coming into our City from other taxpayers (including us). We are beneficiaries hundreds of thousand times over our own small tax contributions to our City.
What could possibly motivate anyone in the year 2011, with the City facing  enormous cutbacks in State funding for Redevelopment (RDA) to argue to cut  taxes?
Pete Mellinger, our City Treasurer is quaking in his boots, and so am I, over escalating and unforeseen legal costs of lawsuits against the City. He has  recently signed a check for $20,000 to attorneys helping the City fight a lawsuit from the Holtville Unified School District board for hundreds of  thousands of dollars of “incorrectly apportioned” RDA money. That check is in addition to others for $10,000 and $12,500 already signed and mailed. Will this lawsuit bankrupt the City? It quite easily could. What other lawsuits are  waiting in the wings?
Are we to ignore our role in providing services and planning for the  infrastructure need by future generations? Look at history’s record: our City was a scarce five years old in 1910 when residents bonded to the tune of $40,000 for a water plant, and a few years later others for sewers, a bridge and fire
apparatus.
One of the bond measures passed without a single negative vote.
Let us now take responsible action. On November 8 we need to vote “No” on all three propositions and continue to gladly pay our UUT to maintain our police,
fire and parks staffs.
Quentin Burke
817 East Eighth St., Holtville