Salem 4th Ward Councilperson: ‘I listen to everyone’
To the editor:
I was elected to be your Salem City 4th Ward Councilperson, eight years ago. I take your vote very seriously. This is our city and our money, yours and mine. I am an independent thinker. I listen to everyone; research the issue factually and make the best decision possible.
Anyone who knows me, can tell you that I am nobody’s puppet. I have voted along party lines and against party lines as I saw fit. When I went against party lines, I made my reasons clear and gained respect. I received the mayor’s endorsement due to my hard work and honest approach. So when my opponent writes a letter insinuating that I am pressured and doing the chairman’s bidding, and pretends to know how I will vote on RITA without ever asking my opinion, it is purely fiction.
RITA by all accounts is complicated. It would definitely save significant tax dollars while collecting our taxes. I know this because I have contacted East Palestine and Leetonia to verify that promises made to them, by RITA, were accurate and actually estimated a little lower than their collections. These are not communities that were in fiscal emergency, but our neighbors.
Leetonia and East Palestine fiscal offices both praised RITA for their efficiency and their great working relationship. East Palestine Fiscal officer Tracy Spratt states that for any tax disputes, RITA gave the city final say to resolve them.
With RITA, filing can be completed at home online or by your tax preparer of choice and submitted right then and there. This is not possible in Salem today.
East Palestine, a city of about 5,000 had a collection increase of $177,000 their first year, 2006, with RITA. Leetonia Fiscal Officer, Randy Chismet, estimated the increase there, a city of under 2,000, to be $15,000 to $20,000 per year.
Yes, two full time and two part-time jobs are on the line. With local grant funds being cut and business tax law changes, we on council need to be conservative. We are being good stewards of your money by considering new ways to guard your dollars.
I am listening, and welcome any comments or opinions you want to share, that is why I came to your door these past few months when no one else did. That is why I have a 4th Ward Facebook page. I have about five weeks before my vote will be counted. Yours will be counted on Tuesday. Remember who has been working for you.
Salem City 4th Ward Councilperson