“Tax & Spend”?

On July 22, 2015, a citizen attempted to tag Jon with the label, “tax and spender” in the local Ferndale Record.  Few things could be further from the truth.  Jon responded to that citizen, and includes that response here, below (with additional references).

Citizen should take own advice

A citizen in the July 22 Ferndale Record had some great advice for evaluating my qualifications for mayor. He said, “Please take the time to review the voting record for Jon Mutchler.”

Sadly, he didn’t take his own advice.

While trying to tag me as a “tax and spender,” he ignores my record on the Ferndale council with the best “low tax” record on both property taxes and utility taxes (taxes that council has the greatest control over and impact you the most).

He ignores the fact that I voted “no” to a water/sewer/storm utility tax increase from 6 to 6.5% (2010). Then again, a couple years later, I voted “no” when council raised it from 6.5 to 9.0% to balance the budget (2013). Councilmember Watson voted for the 38.5% increase to balance the budget (I provided other suggestions and ideas to balance the budget that year. See the minutes of that meeting here.)

He ignores the fact that over the six years I have served on council I have the lowest property tax record of any council member serving over that period of time. I was one of two council members (Zimmerman, the second) voting “no” on the 2013 3% increase. Councilmember Watson voted for the increase, the largest during my council tenure.

He ignores my efforts to support and pass ordinances which make homebuilding less expensive and more affordable.

He ignores my support of all efforts to decrease development costs in our city’s downtown core.

He ignores a resolution I drafted and council passed which places greater scrutiny on and reduced city support of NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

He ignores the fact that when fees are increased (so that businesses pay for their fair city costs) I have worked to delay or implement those increases by steps.

He ignores a “sunset” clause that I argued should be added to part of our solid waste tax that goes away once our library is paid off in 13 years. Without my amendment that tax would continue beyond its initial purpose.

He ignores the fact that I fought against a stormwater tax that would have raised it from 9 to 20%.

He ignores my pushback on a proposal to raise water rates for city water customers by 33% for those living outside the city limits (to 200% of base rate from 150%).

And while reminding the readers that I joined with the majority of council in sending to the voters tax proposals which citizens could choose themselves to vote “yes” or “no” on, he fails to distinguish between those actions where we ask for the will and permission of the voters, and those taken unilaterally by council.

[NOTE:  I did support “Prop One” in 2014 that asked the citizens to approve a penny/gallon tax on local gas sales for the sole and only purpose of repairing Ferndale Streets.  This proposal included a 60,000/gallon a month exemption for each station owner which would have meant that most of the gas station owners and customers in Ferndale would NOT have paid this tax (and those that did would not have paid it on the first 60,000 gallons/month).  An earlier council proposal, that I rejected and fought against (but Councilmember Watson and others supported and voted for) was similar, except that it did not have the 60,000 gallon exemption.  This council activity was well covered in the papers.]

Finally, the author tells some story that I wanted to raise business fees above staff recommendations and that I convinced council to do so. No such action was contemplated or taken. I asked that author by email last week to provide documentation for such a charge and he has not responded. I checked with three city staff members and there is no record or recollection of such an action by this council member. [Note:  we are in August now, and no response or proof of this erroneous claim.]

Folks, please do examine my record. I am proud of it. Go to www.VoteforJon.com and click on “Tax and spend?” for a footnoted record of my fiscal leadership with our city. Yes, review the record.


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