Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mayor Wukela: "There is no free lunch."

Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela held a press conference today, to explain to the people of Florence the proposed millage increase in the proposed city budget.

SCNow has an article up. If you are interested in hearing the entire presser, the whole thing is up on

I'd urge people to check it out. Especially, the folks that commented in the SCNow article. The reality of the matter is that if we don't get a new fire station, our ISO rating will go down. What does that mean? It means everyone's property insurance would go up. So if we fail to build the station now, we are all going to see an increase in our property insurance. Now here's the rub. If that ISO rating goes down, it will take years to get it back. It would not simply go back to the better rating with the addition of a new station. So, if we do the millage increase later, say after the ISO rating goes down, we'll have the millage increase along with higher property insurance rates. So we're going to have to do it, so we might as well do it and get a benefit from it.

Our millage level currently in the City right now is the same level it was at in 1970. But the cost of keeping that rate there has meant we have not added vital infrastructure and services, despite the City's dramatic increase in area. Think of all the new expansion on the south side of town, then think of where the nearest city fire station is. They can't get to houses over on the south side of the city in time.

For those who don't think the time is right, watch the presser. Actually, given the city's financial health right now, this is actually the best time to do these things, because the city can borrow money at very good rates, given the economy and the city's great rating, and with the financial health, most of the increased revenue could be used directly to pay off the bonds now.

Anyway, check out the press conference yourself and see what is proposed and what actual effect it would have on you.

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