The City is in debt and there is no more benevolent federal aid. Strong action is required to protect our residents and to give us a stable financial future.
Defend the Honest Taxpayer
Did you know that there are millions of dollars in outstanding property and income taxes in Maple Heights? That means, while you are respectfully paying your taxes, others are receiving services for which they did not pay. I think this needs to stop.
Currently, the City has no recourse to collect these taxes. City Council needs to sit down with RITA (Regional Income Tax Agency) and the County to discuss options. If that does not bring about results, we need to examine other means such as hiring a collection agency.
These tax-dodgers need to pay their due share for the services they receive. It is unfair and an undue burden upon the honest, tax-paying resident.
Develop Partnerships to Reduce Costs
One example is partnering with community development organizations. Right now in Maple Heights there are hundreds of properties that are vacant, foreclosed, or abandoned. These properties are a burden on our City; they invite crime, reduce property values and are often not earning property taxes.
The City could enter into partnerships with non-profits to rehab and manage these homes thereby replacing a burden with an asset. This would all be accomplished with minimal cost to the City. In fact, this would increase revenue for the City.
Ensure Money is Well Spent
Last year, City Council executed a line-item audit of the City’s finances. While this may be a step in the right direction, a line-item audit by councilmembers is not the most efficient means of fiscal accountability.
First, I propose that Council instead require annual financial reports from City Department Directors. This way, the Director, who is intimately aware of the intricacies of his department’s finances, can give an informed testimony as to the necessity of that department’s expenditures.
Second, I propose that the City publish an annual financial report. This report would contain a summary of expenses by department with breakdowns and graphs as appropriate. It would be accessible to all residents via the City’s website.