To the editor:
I attended the Providence city meeting regarding the upcoming tax increase on Monday evening. It was disappointing. In Providence we are facing a 53% projected tax increase this year alone. That increase is based on what was already one of the highest tax rates in the valley. Most of the increase is due to a renegotiation of the fire and paramedic (EMS) contract that Providence has with Logan city and also to the planned hiring of a city manager. We will likely face another double-digit tax increase next year as the contract with Logan city is further phased in. We were also told to expect an imminent increase in our water bills.
None of these tax increases ever goes away – they last forever and are only increased year after year. I have a couple of questions for the city leadership: During Monday’s meeting, we were hammered with expert testimony regarding the cost of running a city. We get it, it’s expensive to run a city. But every other city in the valley provides these same expensive services to its citizens that Providence does. Why does it cost Providence city $100 to $250 or more per household to do it than every other town? Why are we getting the least bang for our buck?
Even though Providence citizens have made it clear that we don’t want a city manager, it seems certain that we will get one anyway, at a cost of $140,000 per year. However, it was explained to us on Monday that the city already employs a defacto city manager with the title “Administrative Service Director” with a salary of $106,000. So if we now hire a city manager we will in effect be paying for two city managers. Who will be the “real” city manager? Why not hire an “Assistant Administrative Service Director” for $40,000 per year instead of a redundant city manager for $140,000 per year?
Regarding the Fire and Paramedic (EMS) contract with Logan city: It was reported in the Monday meeting that Nibley and Millville are saving money by providing their own EMS services and contracting fire services with Logan. Why doesn’t Providence do the same? Although it was pointed out that the Nibley/Millville service is unstaffed 40% of the time, maybe all it needs is Providence to combine with them to enable 100% staffing and hopefully a budget savings for the city.
When cities need money, the knee-jerk response is to wring it out of its citizens with higher taxes. The citizens, many of them, don’t have anywhere to turn – no one to squeeze. To pay the additional taxes they have to sacrifice something, maybe a necessity. Please do better.