Garbage disposal, water and sanitation, police, fire and emergency services are critical functions of the city administration, and a dynamic leisure department is a bonus, but I don’t expect any of these services to be profitable.
It is commendable that Waterville’s public works division is generating revenue after requiring residents to use prepaid garbage bags. Also kudos to the fire chief, who has been generating income since setting up a collaborative rescue service with Delta. The revenue from the fire department’s emergency services was generated in a decommissioning fund and was originally capped at $ 150,000; The cap has just been raised to $ 300,000 by the city council.
While these funds are not intended to be used as an indicator of the purchase of a new fire truck, ambulance, or other equipment, why should these funds not be included in Waterville’s general fund in the same way as those from garbage bag purchases? The Waterville Police Department did not and should not have a special decommissioning fund of money from parking tickets to justify the new purchases of equipment such as body cameras currently being discussed. These budget decisions should be based on municipal priorities and revenues. Likewise, a municipal swimming pool, walking paths, public parks with playground equipment are not budgetary decisions that depend on whether the leisure department charges usage fees.
As a property owner and taxpayer in Waterville, I want a city government to allocate the money they collect from me, the city departments, the state and federal governments, or the TIFs and bonds, with the community’s contribution and through the annual budget process.
This process should identify and then prioritize what equipment, services, human resources, etc. are needed and when they are needed, whether or not an urban department is generating revenue.
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