Op-Ed: Rochester’s Deficit will Lead to Raising Taxes

An Opinion Article by Sue Ann Douglas, Special to Rochester Media

I went to the Rochester State of the City Monday evening and Mayor Cathy Daldin did a fine job. Her theme was Rochester past, present and future.

Mayor Cathy Daldin - photo by Michael Dwyer

Mayor Cathy Daldin – photo by Michael Dwyer

The most interesting thing was that there was absolutely no mention of the largest projects that the City recently built – the two parking decks by any of the council members who spoke nor did the mention raising taxes up to three mills!

We were told that the city was in great financial shape last night in spite of the fact that projections show that the parking system, including the decks, will end the year with a revenue deficit of $605,600. And similar losses are projected each year in the future.

That kind of long term loss is not sustainable.

At the end of the Mayor’s speech, she stressed the importance of improving our infrastructure.

Will “infrastructure” be the guise used to support an increased property tax millage of up to 3 mills?

Our general fund is already donating $50,000 a year to pay for the decks and the DDA is contributing an equal amount.

We now know that an annual $605,600 revenue loss for paying the parking structure’s general obligation bonds will affect the whole City.

Will the council will go after up to 3 mills in higher taxes under the guise of infrastructure and then will take enough off the top to fund the parking system boondoggle’s annual shortfalls over the next 20 years.

And, guess what? Multiply this year’s shortfall by 10 years and you are talking really big money that could have paid for a lot of infrastructure.

Read State of the City of Rochester 2016 for more information on the event.

Read Winter Parking in Rochester for more about the parking issue.

Sue Ann Douglas lives in Rochester, Michigan and is a retired Oakland County Commissioner (18 years), a former Rochester City Council Member (11 years), and a former member of the Rochester Planning Commission.

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