- Real Estate
- Paris Flash
On Aug. 12, I appeared before the Paris City Council questioning if the council was using their portion of the ¼ percent sales tax as intended. I accused the council of not following the ballot directive of lowering taxes. Instead it built reserves to the highest level in history and then spent millions out of those reserves.
Mayor Hashmi responded that my comments would be addressed at a future council meeting. The mayor made his “presentation” at the Aug. 26 council meeting. Instead of addressing the tax versus reserve question, he falsely blamed the 2004 council for the highest tax rate since 1993.
The mayor failed to tell the audience that the 2002-2003 council set the high tax rate of .695, not our council. The mayor also failed to point out, or did not know, that Paris was flat broke when our council took office.
Records show we began the 04-05 budget year on Oct. 1 with a negative balance of -$239,820 and 31 days later we were -$1,338,991 in the hole. Consequently, Mr. Anderson had to use construction bond funds to pay the bills and payroll that month. However, the city did not raise taxes, but instead reduced spending with the following results:
2004-2005 Tax Rate .69500 Ending Reserves and available funds +$2,580,383.
2005-2006 Tax Rate .69225 Ending Reserves and available funds +$7,715,606.
2006-2007 Tax Rate .59225 Ending Reserves and available funds +$10,992,400.
2007-2008 Tax Rate .56000 Ending Reserves and available funds +$13,315,155.
In a 10-minute presentation before a packed council chamber, the mayor asked, “Why weren’t the taxes reduced and budgets passed by the very same people (Wilson) who are complaining about it?” Dr. Hashmi, in spite of inheriting a mess, the above figures clearly show taxes were reduced by the councilmen you named in three out of four years by a combined total of 19.4%, going from 69.5 to 56.
In your presentation, you stated that you lowered taxes for the last two years. You have served two years and the taxes were not lowered, even a fraction, but remained at .52 your first year in office. That rate was maintained even though the balance of reserves and available funds as of Oct. 1, 2011, was a whopping $17,784,193. Mayor, even with the large reserves you failed to lower taxes. However, you did vote to spend $4,701,435 from designated reserves.
I think you owe an apology to all the named former council members that you selectively and falsely admonished by accusing them of setting high tax rates and not reducing taxes. These citizens should not have been named or singled out in an open council meeting because of the statements that I made.
Donald G. Wilson
Former District 6 City Councilman 2004-2008