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Over the course of many city council meetings, the public has heard that the city doesn't have funding for certain projects or that some will need to be pushed into the future due to budget constraints. Things like street maintenance, public safety, and building the 23rd Street viaduct or the hiring of additional police or firefighters have made the list.

Recently the council has been discussing raising low or zero-rated fees, pay increases for city personnel and costs that taxpayers must pay to advance new businesses and housing projects; taxpayer funding of $20 million to entice the state to advance the beltway project and the $750,000 of taxpayer funds to extend Luther Road come to mind immediately. How are these things paid for?

Does the city do enough to look for ways to cut taxpayer outlays? Ask yourself this: Should the taxpayers of Fremont be required to pay for all fireplugs located in new construction developments?

For months the public has been told by developers that they are totally responsible for all the costs that occur inside their subdivisions. However, during the "negotiated" subdivision agreement discussions at the last planning commission and city council meetings, the subject of taxpayer funding of fireplugs was raised to the public.

Did you know fireplugs cost about $1,700 apiece and that taxpayers, rather than developers, are "by agreement" paying for all the new fireplugs.

When this practice was challenged, the city's desire to have all fireplugs be of the same type was the explanation. This uniformity rationale makes sense, but when asked why developers aren't required to reimburse the city for the materials cost, the answer was merely...that's what we've typically done.

Why? Shouldn't the cost causing developer be required to reimburse the city "at cost" so taxpayers aren't subsidizing private developers?

Reimbursement for one hundred fireplugs would save $170,000; this would go a long way toward paying for wage increases, a police officer, or a a firefighter position.

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Taxpayers need city negotiators to protect/serve the taxpayers - common sense says a good place to start would be getting reimbursed for the city's cost of fireplugs.

Fred Johnson



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