Dover tax proposal must be last resort

Recently published articles regarding the city of Dover budget shortfall seem to indicate that some City Council members lean towards a substantial increase in residential property taxes to be the primary method for resolving this issue. I understand that consideration is being given to increasing certain fees paid by city residents, as well.

Irrespective of whether the governmental agency is local, state or federal, the first inclination of an agency with a financial shortage seems to be raise taxes and/or fees. I think one reason for this is that those making financial decisions tend to regard the funds involved from an abstract or theoretical standpoint. They do not tend to think of the money as a concrete resource coming from the pockets of real people.

Another reason is that an alternative to increases is to hold the line on increased spending, or to even decrease spending. Most elected or appointed representatives are loath to do this, as it requires making hard and unpopular choices.

I suggest that before any increase is given serious thought, first examine expenditures. A cursory examination of the city budget shows what seems to be “agency bloat.” By this term, I mean that the city has agencies which seem staffed beyond that necessary for their stated goals, and certainly beyond any quantifiable accomplishments they have made. Like taxes, once an agency is created, it is virtually impossible to eliminate, even though it may have achieved its established goal. This also applies if the agency did not achieve set goals.

The past decade has numerous examples of unwise expenditures from city of Dover coffers.

The cornerstone of fiscal responsibility is wisely deciding on expenditures — not just near-term items, but those which will have an impact years, or perhaps decades, into the future.

Larry Koewing

The Opinions page features letters to the editor. To submit a letter, email Letters are not the views of the Delaware State News or Independent Newsmedia Inc USA.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.