In regards to the reintroduction of city tax on food year round I have the following comments and perspective to share with you. First of all, in my opinion, food shouldn't be taxed anytime, ever. But especially in the winter, when people here are working with a tighter home budget because of fuel costs to heat their homes. Let's not forget that many jobs in Homer are seasonal such as most of the tourist industry, construction and fishing.
There are many families in Homer having a tough time feeding and clothing themselves this winter. Reinstating the food tax will make it that much harder.
When I have a bad year financially I have to tighten my belt and prioritize what's really important and what's unnecessary. Maybe the city should do the same.
I have a suggestion for councilmen Bryan Zak and David Lewis: Visit the Methodist Church where the food bank is located on a Monday. Ask the volunteers there how many people they give food to on a weekly basis. See how crowded the place is every Monday. Call Shari or Frog at Share the Spirit, ask them how many families they have helped the last two years compared to five years ago. This could be an eye opener for you.
I hear many reasons floated about as to why we need more taxes. Most of them sink like a rock. "People who live outside the city don't pay their fare share toward city services." I live outside the city. I pay city sales tax on dog food and paper products at Save U More, on toothpaste and light bulbs at Ulmer's, on gas at Petro, on dinner at local restaurants and on tickets to the movies. When I participate in community schools programs (now run by the city) I buy a punchcard.
Am I a freeloader?
"We need more money in the city budget to help out non-profit organizations."
I pay at the door to go into the Pratt Museum and know they used to have a grant writer on their payroll.
KBBI lost federal funding a few years ago and they seem to stay solvent by having an annual fundraising membership drive. Kudos to the Haven House for starting a used clothing store with some of their extra donated items. These are just a few of the examples of how nonprofits can create alternate sources of income for their programs.
Let us also consider Homer's large senior citizen population. I've seen many seniors cutting coupons, buying sale items and shopping on senior day at Safeway. Many of these folks are on fixed incomes. Does it seem right to add 4.5 percent to their grocery bill?
A majority of the voters in this area were against taxing food a few years ago. Is it not your job as council members to respect your own constituents' wishes? Please don't balance your future budget on the backs of the poor, the elderly and the underemployed persons in our community.
Isn't this supposed to be the season of giving?
I sincerely hope the city council has a change of heart on this subject.