Key cost issues being ignored

October 31, 2004

Dear Editor:

I entered the race for Danville city commissioner because I recognized that there were several key issues that our present commission and past commissions continue to ignore. I would like to confirm my position on these issues.

First, is the matter of providing health insurance for the commissioners who are part-time employees. Shouldn't benefits offered to city employees such as health insurance reflect those provided in the private sector? I know of no business in our community that provides health insurance for part-time employees. I am the only candidate who took a firm stand on this issue at the recent forum.

The cost-saving for eliminating this benefit would be significant.

The fact that health insurance costs are rising three or four times faster than the rate of inflation is a clear indication that health insurance provided to full-time city workers must under go serious review. We cannot continue to ignore these escalating costs. A business person trying to control costs of his operation always looks first at the costs that are out of control. If we are going to reinstate sound fiscal management, we must address this issue.


The second issue that must be addressed is the "garbage fee." This May, I was the first to argue against this "fee." It is simply bad government. These fees escalate much faster than taxes. For those who itemize on their federal tax returns, the "fee" is no longer deductible. In addition, the city will now be negotiating the fee that you will pay.

Finally, there is the issue of the planned surplus. At the forum, the question was asked: "Do you think the city has too much surplus?" I was the only candidate to answer: "Yes." Why does the city need a $2 million surplus? The city manager says he uses this surplus to control cash flow when tax receipts are low. This leads to poor bookkeeping. No business could operate effectively in this manner. If we are going to control costs and restore fiscal accountability, we can do better.

Gordon Howe

Danville City Commission candidate

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