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Friday, November 18, 2005

Balanced... Maybe - Unfair... Definately


PRESS CONFERENCE AUDIO (16Mb)


Balanced… Maybe – Unfair… Definitely

Michael P. Fleck, Councilman

The 2006 City of Easton budget has been presented by Mayor Mitman and the Administration. The proposed budget calls for over a 3 mill tax increase and another water/sewer increase; while cutting public safety and recreation services. Wow! I think the Mayor is really out of touch with residents about their wishes and what they can afford.

As a resident of Easton, the last thing I want cut when taxes are going up is the number of police officers on the street. As the Chair of the City Finance Committee, I also know this will be a long term financial disaster as less officers equals higher overtime costs.

Here is the problem and the solution.

Problem: The Mayor has had two years to come up with enhanced revenue, new revenue sources and increased economic development. The residents of Easton have seen very little result. There has not been any regionalization of purchases. The only new revenue source presented was the Amusement/Mechanical Devices Tax which was done by Council without leadership or direction from the Mayor.

Solution: Mayor Mitman needs to stop forming committees and hiring consultants and take action. This is not a time in Easton’s history when we can afford a passive leader. Mr. Mayor, think outside the box to create new revenue, look for creative ways to enhance City services, not cut them, and use your economic development staff to create tangible development. For two years now the Mayor has promised and has yet to deliver. Mr. Mayor, stand and deliver, lead Easton.

In the meantime, we may have a balanced budget but one that is completely unfair to the residents. One of two things must happen real soon…either the Mayor changes or the residents change Mayor’s.

I sincerely hope the Mayor changes and leads in his next two years. I hope he becomes the Mayor that the people elected. I want this because I would rather participate outside of City Hall in an Easton moving in the right direction than inside City Hall in two years in an Easton that still lacks leadership and is moving in the wrong direction.

Why? You ask. Because I am a life long resident and put Easton’s future above my own.

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