As you all know, the city of Dowagiac has been telling residents that they don't have any money. Most recently there was talk of raising the water bills $6 to pay for street repairs. Now we have the council voting on increasing the utility deposit for new renters to $500.
Time and time again, the city says they do not have money for a senior center and youth activities.
We can understand if a city has financial problems that they need to pass the cost on to the residents of their community. At the same time, they need to tighten their belts as well. If there is a shortfall of money, the city of Dowagiac cannot be allowed to pass increases on to residents, and, at the same time, spend our tax dollars in a wasteful way.
Here are a couple examples of how the city spends our tax dollars in a wasteful manner, while telling residents they don't have money to cover losses on utilities or have programs for youth and seniors of Dowagiac.
On April 29th, a city employee went to Ann Arbor, Michigan for some kind of city business. The city paid $216.45 for a hotel at the Ann Arbor Marriott. Again, on April 27th, another city employee went out of town for training and stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge, which, according to Google, is an indoor water park. That cost was $359.43.
How can the city cry "BROKE" when it comes to shortfalls on utility collections, senior activities, road repairs and youth activities, and then put employees up in indoor water parks and the Marriott? Both places, as you know, are the most expensive places to stay. How many of you could afford to stay at these hotels if you went out of town?
When the City Manager approves trips for city employees for training, I am sure that he has to approve where they stay. Mr. Anderson, how can you tell residents that the city is cutting costs, downsizing employees, want to add $6 to utility bills and now want a $500 utility deposit from new renters when you allow employees to stay at the most costly hotels in the country?
We agree that training is important for city employees, but when you approve their travel, how about thinking about whose money you are spending. Put these employees in a Red Roof Inn and save the taxpayers some money.
It is a slap in the face to every taxpayer in Dowagiac, while many are struggling to pay their bills, to put these people in the most expensive hotels possible.
This is a clear example why the city, and some council members, don't think that a $500 increase in the utility deposit is too much money.
To council members: Prior to voting on the utility deposit, remember that most residents could never afford to stay in hotels that cost this much money. Most residents in today's economic crisis, struggle to pay their mortgages, rent and utility bills. A stay at the Marriott isn't even a consideration. It shouldn't be for city employees either.