Other city needs should be addressed with income tax increase

Let’s start with this simple statement: the Marietta Fire Department is vitally important.

We support it, we support the firefighters. We want them to have the equipment they need.

So does the community. We suspect that’s why an increase in city income tax was approved by voters in 2018 once it was earmarked for the fire and streets departments. A previous attempt not marketed in that way failed. We would guess that’s why our city officials made the change on the ballot, in order to get the income tax increase passed. It’s harder to say no to the fire department and improvements to our roads.

And we don’t want those officials to go back on what they said the money would be spent on–at least not all the way.

However, seeing that there is a remaining $507,043.68 available from 2019 to spend on fire equipment this year and a projected $605,826 in 2020 revenue, we wonder if some of those funds could be better used in other areas.

For example, even though funding for paving was also part of this promise and it was increased by $316,900 the first year, that’s much lower than what the fire department is getting. The condition of our streets has a huge impact on our day-to-day lives and we can probably all agree there’s a great need for improvement.

There are also plenty of other needs in our city, from police to development to the maintenance of parks and cemeteries.

We know the fire department has a wish list they’re working on. We didn’t expect them to spend all the money at once and we thank them for being responsible with the funds.

We’re also certainly not in favor of stripping all the extra funds from the fire department, but we feel they can meet their needs and some of this extra wealth can be shared. If not, think of how high these numbers will accumulate after five or 10 years of the increased taxation? Is that much really necessary?

Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf has suggested that future council members may need to revisit the allocation of the funds at some point and think about reducing the amount that goes to the fire department.

We agree. We don’t want the fire department to be underfunded, but there’s a better way to balance this income.


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