When it comes to governments, especially our city government, there are always more needs than money to address them. We’re reminded of this truism annually when, on or about this time of the year, our City Council members make sad remarks that there’s nothing left to pare, and similar lamentations.
Former Mayor Euille was recently quoted saying we’re at the point where services have to be cut. This is code for saying, get ready; your taxes are going up. Another clue: not a single elected official has the courage to posit potential spending reductions, even as much as a hint that there might be savings from doing without something, or contracting out a service, much less establishing a year round campaign to aggressive solicit suggestions for savings from the community.
It’s just not part of their DNA. For our City Council, fine Democrats to their core, taxing and spending is their crowning moment. It’s when they exert the maximum power entrusted to them. This is the time when they can lawfully take what others earn to spend in a manner in which they deem right and proper.
Here’s why you need to be fearful: our City Council can’t even say no to night lights at T. C. Williams stadium, an insulting extravagance that has nothing to do with education and everything to do with increasing unaudited, off-the-book rental income from leasing the stadium to non-student sports groups. They can’t even say no to the Board of Architectural Review which is disfiguring Old Town, the tourist lure that distinguishes Alexandria from all other American cities.
But they are mindful that evermore taxes are not popular with voters. Their stealth solution for more revenue, however, is worse than the cure. They are dense-packing Alexandria with more people, cars and structures. They are altering your city for lucre.
They falsely believe more cars, structures and people will produce more revenue thereby reducing our tax burden when, in fact, just the opposite occurs. The more dense our city becomes, the more services are necessary the cost of which is exceeded by the revenue generated. If you are doubtful, then take a look at the city manager’s proposed budget. It demands more of your money to provide more services to more people.
A partial answer to this annual ritual of tax increases: preserve what little open land exists in Alexandria. It’s far less expensive to maintain than it is to serve the needs of evermore residents. Apart from also saying no to night lights at T. C. Williams stadium, here’s another answer: Add wealth-makers to our City Council which, perforce, means replacing every current council member, wealth-takers all.