The main reason I oppose Proposition 1, The South End Fire House / Fire Truck Levy, is that it condones the lack of prioritizing projects and services "required for the City to function" over discretionary projects and services that are more difficult to justify. Additionally, by defeating Proposition 1, Islanders are signaling their opposition to our City's threshold for raising taxes. The outcome of the Levy will influence how the Council reviews and ultimately approves the Biennial Budget.
I suspect a Levy financing just a Fire House would pass easily. Unfortunately, as so often happens, we piggy backed an extra, the Fire Rescue Truck, on the Levy. The connection between Proposition 1 and the next budget is that the Fire Rescue Truck should have been financed through disciplined installments to the sinking fund. The sinking fund was designed to avoid having to ask voters for a special Levy to finance the quantifiable and predictable fire truck replacements. On a regular schedule, we should have diligently socked a little away to avoid the exact situation we find ourselves in today.
Islanders have the opportunity to vote on a $5.22M dollar South End Fire House and Fire Rescue Truck Levy. The Levy vote happens to be in the midst of the Council's review of the next Biennial Budget, ie the budget that will take the City to December 2014. The Levy vote is extremely important as a conduit for voters to send a message as to how the Council should prioritize projects and services and the threshold for raising taxes.
The Council received budget briefs on Oct 1st and Oct 15th. The recommendations to Council came as no surprise. I anticipated large tax increases to pay for new or enlarged services and projects. The proposed budget recommends $3,004,677 in new or increased taxes. This is in addition to the $210,000 increase in taxes resulting from growth, ie permit fees. This is a lot of new money.
Regardless of the source or label, more City Revenue means less money in Islanders' pockets. A vote against Proposition 1 is a vote for tight prioritized budgeting resulting in lower taxes and more efficient governing.