To The Editor:
This is in regard to County Legislator Frank Castiglia’s recent letter to the editor. I’m going to try to shed some truth on his scattered and random thoughts.
He starts out saying that last year taxes went up and this year fees are going up.
While it’s true taxes went up last year, we started at a projected increase of 24% but the mayor, city chamberlain, department heads and Common Council worked hard to get it down to a 3% increase and still maintain the city services. He claims that fees are the same as taxes. Fees are not the same as taxes.
Taxes are what you pay for general city services. Fees are what you pay for specific services and generally a professional service. If you draw up a will you don’t pay an attorney’s tax, you pay the attorney’s fee. If you have a medical procedure done you don’t pay a surgeon’s tax, you pay the surgeon’s fee.
He said: “fees for improving your house in any shape or form may start to cost you more.”
He also went on to say: “if you improve your home your assessment will go up.”
Both of those statements are wrong. You can make lots of improvements to your house without a fee. You can make repairs, paint, do landscaping and replace window and doors and you don’t have to pay a fee and your assessment won’t go up. I don’t know where he comes up with these scattered-brained ideas but he should really learn about assessments and how they are derived before he makes a fool of himself and worse, mislead the public.
We are looking at certain fees now because they haven’t been adjusted in years and we’re working on bringing them up to a level equal to other municipalities in our area. We want the fee to cover the cost of performing the service.
For example, if a code enforcement officer has to go to a rental unit to do an inspection, the fee should cover the cost of that inspection. That way the taxpayers in the city are not subsidizing the business of landlords, many of whom don’t live in the city.
He went on to say that there should be a discount for this and that and I wonder, how many more people would it take to keep track of all those discounts.
He then said, and this is where he really goes off the deep end, “it won’t be long before they start making us pay for parking in any city owned parking lot. They have already started with a two-hour parking in parts of downtown.” How he made the leap from paying for parking to a two hour limit is beyond me. The two-hour limit downtown was to allow local shoppers to find parking spots. Without the two-hour limit, downtown employees and people who parked downtown all day and took a bus to Syracuse would use up the parking spots.
We have no intentions of putting in parking meters.
He mentioned “pay Blue Boys.”
First, Blue Boy is an oil painting by Thomas Gainsborough. Blue Bowls, on the other hand, don’t come in a pay version as far as I know.
Talk about pay as you go. He said that he feels we will start charging to use the lake. That too is absolutely absurd as are his other claims. Where does he come up with these nutty ideas?
My final thoughts on this are, why does a person, an elected official, continue to make false claims and accusations and scaring our taxpayers into thinking they are going to be charged more when they are not. All the other county legislators look out for there districts so why can’t Legislator Castiglia try to help Fulton instead of tearing it down and hindering it’s progress?
Jim Myers, Fulton
Fourth Ward Alderman