As of Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Monmouth could improve transparency
Recently, water and electric rates were increased in Monmouth by 5 percent and 10 percent respectively. The text of each resolution to the Council cited such things as the need to cover capital projects, address compliance issues, and Bonneville rate increases. The rationale is correct, but it’s not the whole picture.
Monmouth plays a bit of a shell game with the use of “transfers” in the budget. For example, the Water Fund transferred $346,064 to the General Fund. Three years ago, the amount transferred was $305,659. The Power and Light Fund transferred $432,442 to the General Fund. Three years ago, the amount transferred was $382,141. Thus, utility rate increases for water, power and light maintain or slightly increase the General Fund as well.
The use of transfers in a budget is a necessary practice, because departments in the General Fund do not make enough money to support their services. However, Monmouth could improve its transparency by sharing the whole picture. Most of the General Fund money goes to the Police Department and Management and Finance.
Since Measure 5 capped property taxes, the use of rate and fee increases will continue. Raising utility rates to increase support to the General Fund is especially onerous when increases impact those least able to afford it.
Old clock will be missed
A while back, I wrote in concerning the clock in front of Monmouth City Hall, my hometown. A short time after that, I saw city employees attempt to fix the clock, which actually worked for a few weeks but eventually stopped again. Last week, the clock was removed without any fanfare. I understand that there are no plans to replace the clock at this time, as the council is concerned with the expense to repair or replace it. They are also concerned that the clock may conflict with a proposed expansion to city hall. It looks like time has finally run out for the old clock. I for one will miss it.
Respect must be earned
Your editorial in today’s (Aug. 15) I-O is a perfect example of what is wrong with our “free press.” A free and balanced press would be perfect, and for years it worked. We had opposing papers which expressed the views of both sides. Today our press is mostly owned by a few very rich individuals that use their power to suppress the facts and denigrate those that don’t agree with them by calling names and placing labels. Fortunately the Internet and social media bypasses the mainstream press to provide facts that are missing and which change the story (often). You criticize those that don’t approve of your heavy-handed reporting and then offer sob story editorials about how nobody respects you. Respect must be earned.
Larry L Loomis