Was in shock and awe to see Mr. Mullen's letter of July 7 where the Parkersburg News and Sentinel allowed itself to be criticized. In the past few years, local media has been quite protective of some people and cities in allowing any controversy about them or the city activities. One media outlet even threatened to sue me for my allegations. But since the last election, there has been more openness than in the past; albeit still a lot does not get shown to the public.
For the past six months, I have done Freedom of Information Act requests to the city of Vienna. These FOIA have shown what a prudent person would accept as the exposure of the city council in allegedly failing to do its job or to utilize public funds wisely and in the best interest of the residents of the city. Sure, friends, family, co-workers, fishing, drinking and other buddies along with some special interest groups are well taken care off. But about 9,000 of the 10,750 in this fine community are on their own. They have no voice for their issues and are like the proverbial mushroom. And we all know what it is fed?
I have requested for some time that the city return some of its excess taxes to the resident property owners. In the past budget process one member said "we are going to submit the same levy as always." This was little more than a middle digit to the community. As anyone can note, the city has again rolled a huge surplus into its "reserve fund" (read slush fund). Over $800,000 this year and already $400 into the 1 July budget. City can award 4 to 10 percent pay raises; maintain a Rolls Royce health plan for the employees and push to spend $600 or more for a new police annex, but nothing for the people whose money they grab every year.
The need for the building to house the emergency response truck is real. The need for tiered seating because Charleston has it and our mayor has to have it here; the trophy case to cover a support column; the kitchenette and the emergency response center in the new annex are not. Viable, cost effective alternatives were put forth. But the budget committee is hell bent on spending every dollar they can get in their hands. Folks, you need to wake up.