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Letter: Local government needs to ‘wake up,’ stop spending irresponsibly

To the Editor-

As we get closer to the end of the year, there are some realities we should look at.

Who can afford continued increases in property taxes? What does the city government do to improve the quality of life in Stevens Point? What possibility is there that our city will continue to spend more than property tax supports? Will the current members of the city council continue to allow their own “wants” to exceed the “needs” of this small town?

At a time when many people are out of jobs locally, regionally, and globally, our city government continues to spend wildly, with no end in sight. Regarding plans to redo Division St., should the city be allowed to take property owners’ land in order to add a median and roundabouts? Should we not be looking for the MOST COST EFFECTIVE way to go regarding the upgrades?

Division St. is a major artery for the Stevens Point Fire Dept. and ambulance service to get from point A to point B. Wouldn’t it be crazy to add roundabouts? There are much less expensive ways for vehicles/pedestrians to use Division St. Stop lights that can be regulated by emergency services come to mind.

The city has required many homes in the Jordan Ave. area to add sidewalks, a costly burden to property owners to pay for the sidewalks, and also to pay to have them cleaned during the winter months, also adding more solid surfaces where we should be looking for ways to add non-paved surfaces for drainage. Really? There were already sidewalks on the south side of the street. Empty most of the time. Were these sidewalks ESSENTIAL or NON-ESSENTIAL. Needs, or wants???

And now, for a financial responsibility lesson. I was a former government worker (teacher). During the years of my employment, I had little knowledge or concern with what was happening in the financial world. I was always receiving my paycheck. Recessions came and went. I didn’t have to worry. I continued to be paid, just like our city govt. and some council members do today.

That all changed when I retired and I was getting “my money” (pension).

ETF (employee trust fund) has police, fire, teachers, and government workers in their hands. In Wisconsin, the ETF follows the ups and downs of the market. When the market is down, our pension check reflects that. Many people don’t realize that Wisconsin’s pension fund is different than other states. My sister in Iowa gets the same amount month after month, year after year.

Now here’s the lesson for our government officials: Someday, you will be collecting from this same fund that I am. Wake up! Since the meltdown in 2008, I have lost $500/month (a total of $72,000.00 in the past 12 years).

I cannot keep paying higher and higher property taxes at the whim of the council and city government officials to build a bigger/better mousetrap. Imagine all the retired police, fire, teachers that still live here and are in the same pension fund.

We must stop spending. Many people are not getting paid at all. We are in a global crisis. When will you start to give the property owners a break? The school referendum is also spending wildly, remodeling schools that get limited use. Again I say, WAKE UP.

Ruth Pfiffner
Stevens Point

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