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Reader’s Forum — 9-16-13

Three cheers for Larry Mac Hovis

I want to express my appreciation for Hovis’ legislative leadership at the last City Council meeting. He took the lead to bring the Council together and identified a strategy to deal with the ongoing negotiations with the County related to water and other County service costs. He also had a plan to go back to Cherryville and see if there could be a win-win solution for that City’s need for water and Lincolnton’s need to sell water. Then the big news of the evening was a proposal to repeal the trash fee. Wow, what a positive evening for Lincolnton. Hovis acknowledged that Councilman Carroll Heavner and legal counsel T.J. Wilson were also active in putting together the documents that were presented to the Council. Thanks to all.
I also agree with Councilman Dr. Les Coninger when he said that the repeal of the trash fee will have a negative impact on City revenues. The trash fee was a way to cover the costs of a status quo City budget. Now we will have to look at ways to live with less. Also, with the State Legislature cutting income taxes, there will be less state revenue and in turn less funding for cities from the state in the future. Plus, with water usage way down, there will be less funds coming from water and sewage fees to help cover other City expenses.
Maybe it is not a perfect storm yet, but the budget situation we are in will require the City to cut operational costs or cut services or cut both to balance our budget. As the debate on what course to take begins in earnest, I think it would be helpful for City Administration, City Council and/or the Mayor to present a public overview of the City budget outside a regular Council meeting. This would allow more time for citizen questions and discussion on the funding choices that we will be facing in the near future.

John Waters

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