Letter - Vote preserves voting rights, favors fiscal responsibility
We thank Dickinson residents who voted against Ordinance 1351 on June 10. Your vote, against changing the half-percent sales tax, was a vote in favor of fiscal responsibility and preservation of our voting rights.
We are disappointed with Destiny Dickinson’s last-ditch effort just days before the election. They mailed letters, signed by Mayor Johnson, to residents touting the hospital’s financial problems as a reason to change the half-percent sales tax. This clouded the issue and misled Dickinson voters.
Isn’t it peculiar, just weeks earlier, at the April 17 sales tax forum, very few words were mentioned about the hospital? In fact, it was the project that was considered farther out.
Isn’t it peculiar, in reviewing Destiny Dickinson’s campaign literature the college stadium was listed as the first project the tax would fund followed by a fairgrounds and an outdoor water park and – farther out - a new regional hospital?
Isn’t it peculiar that Destiny Dickinson, in a newspaper interview, reiterated that the college stadium was listed first on the list followed by a water park, fairgrounds and – farther out – a new regional hospital, despite the mayor’s assertion that “This sales tax amendment would grant authority to the city commission to respond to these projects…in a timely and responsible manner,”?
To fund these other projects before the hospital would tie-up the sales tax for bonded indebtedness for years and years, even decades. Under this plan, where would we even get money for the hospital? Let’s guess, additional taxes!
To add to the confusion, the current half-percent sales tax has minimal money left over after the $1 million bond payment and the operations and maintenance reserve fund subsidy are paid each year for the community center. Bond payments remain for the next 4½ years. Frankly put, the community center is not self-supporting.
We believe, the use of the hospital, an essential pillar to the community, as a means to get last-minute votes so other pet projects can be funded first, is misleading. Allow St. Joseph’s management – health care experts – a chance to resolve their reimbursement issue. Then and only then should our community get involved.
Further, our city commission needs to practice honesty, fiscal responsibility, and abide by open meeting laws. They need to honor the sales tax language decided by the majority of our voters.