First, I’d like to comment that I attended the Orofino Chamber’s Candidate Open Forum and it was good to see the number of candidates and members of the community in attendance.
Second, my concern of the number of the candidates running that are trying to get a pool built. Obviously, they have not done their research fully to see why a pool is not feasible and sustainable for our community. A swimming pool is quite costly to build, maintain, insure and staff with the appropriate certified people. If they had done their research, they would find out that it is too costly for the City of Orofino to keep it running, hence one of the reasons for the original pool to be taken out in the first place. If they would have gone in to the City to see how the budget is funded, they would realize that a swimming pool falls under the recreation fund which has a levy cap of .0006 percent. The recreation fund has minimal funding due to this and it runs approximately $50,000 - $60,000 every year. With that amount it barely covers the current employees’ salaries, along with maintaining all of the recreation assets the city currently has with the parks, tennis, basketball and sand volleyball courts, splash pad and skate park. So, for them to promise that they are going to work on getting a pool is misleading. That would put more of a burden on the tax payers of the city.
Furthermore, yes, the budget is $7,812,173 this year, but if the public would go in to the council meetings during the budget process, they would see what all goes in to it. As with any budget, it is an estimation of what they think might be spent city wide. This is including, salaries, medical benefits, paying for utilities, fuel and supplies to keep the city running. There is no fluff in the budget. There are a number of grants built in to the budget in hopes that they might get them to help fund some of the budgeted items. If the grants aren’t awarded, then those monies are not spent. Also, the city was awarded $639,000 of ARPA Funds (American Rescue Plan Act) for infrastructure, which has been earmarked for water and sewer. With the increased costs of products and services, it is the best estimation of what it would cost by researching previous years actual spending.
If you are truly concerned where your tax dollars are going, please start attending city council meetings and asking questions. If you don’t, please do not just sit back and complain that your tax monies are not being spent wisely. Just because the budget states that it is almost $8 million doesn’t mean that is what gets spent. Please ask questions and get informed!
Concerned Citizen & Taxpayer