Grand Island's City Council and Mayor continue to show little sincerity in reducing city spending and holding property taxes at current levels. They continue to come up with nickel and dime cuts here and there but nothing with teeth.
When you are talking about revenue shortfalls to the tune of millions the best they can come up with is the elimination of a bad idea round-about and cutting the funding for studies for an overpass that will only lead to traffic gridlock in downtown GI (the council was really sorry to have to cut the study funding because there were millions of dollars in "grant money" available for it's construction - why do local politicians and city managers believe "grant money" is free?) They also decided not to build the Fire Training Center...after spending over half a million dollars for 20 acres to build it on...I want to know how that property was ever valued at $590K???
If they were serious they would permanently close the Heartland Shooting Park...cut back the overfunded public parks...and close the Library back a few more hours than the token 5 hours they offered. Instead...they want to close two of the four recently built wading pools that are free to local children while a visit to the Water Park costs the better part of a 50 dollar bill for a family of four...and then terminate the people that actually fix our streets...sewers and water works and provide police safety.
GI's present and past Mayor's and Councils have spent taxpayer dollars like whores on a holiday...a new showplace city hall with major cost overruns...a Convention Center voted down twice by voters and of most recent the grab for the State Fair. It's obvious that the State Fair was a red herring when other Nebraska cities wouldn't touch the State Fair. We are now left with a deteriorating infrastructure that can't be funded because of frivolity. Why didn't they have the foresight 10 to 20 years ago? I can only attribute it to their own personal greed...that and the good old Chamber of Commerce mentality.
Mitch Nickerson...who has never been a taxpayers friend...must have drawn the short straw and offered up the possibility of a property tax increase while the Mayor clamored she just wanted the budget passed soon...she must have better things to do. You can bank that our Mayor and Council already have a property tax increase planned and will hit us with it at the last moment because Lord knows we've cut everything imaginable...I call BS!
Meanwhile our Mayor avoids city taxes on her family business...wants handouts to expand her business...all while making record profits as gun and bullet sales soar by 45 percent across America...all while paying $14.00 an hour.
So when you pull into town to visit our State Fair...bring lots of cash and be sure to spend it...we need it. Wear your Kevlar too...City and County Law Enforcement staffing is lean. Try not to commit any crimes either...our Taj Mahal jail has too many vacancies and it's not generating enough revenue from the Feds...so you might have to cook your own meal before TV time. Maybe they could cut costs at the jail by turning the air conditioner up a couple degrees.
Coming soon...the best places to eat in and around Grand Island during the State Fair and how to sneak into town without using what will likely be a gridlocked Obama Stimulus Expressway - South Locust.