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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

Sounds like the staff and students at Shirley schools went to a lot of trouble after their sprinklers ruined lunch.

I’m wondering why the students weren’t just fed a nutritious lunch of a peanut butter sandwich and an apple. Because that is what they feed to some.

B.K. Michaels

Clinton

Dear Editor:

I would like to acknowledge the local citizens for the outpouring of support I have received for calling attention to some of the shenanigans taking place at City Hall. Like many of you, I am concerned about the future of our community.

This brings me to some recent news coming out of City Hall.

According to the VBC Democrat,

“The Clinton City Council held a special meeting at noon Friday, Nov. 15, at City Hall, less than 16 hours after adjourning its regular meeting. The purpose was to move $4,000 into the Planning and Zoning department’s account to cover mileage for the remainder of the year.”

(Before I go any further, I would like to clarify two points. First, I appreciate Councilors Wendy Russ and Gayla Bradley for their dissenting votes on the mileage transfer. Secondly, I have a lot of respect for Zoning official Dwight Wilson. He is a good man. In this letter, I will simply demonstrate how the use of a personal vehicle for city use is unfair to the city employee and a inordinate waste of taxpayer dollars.)

After learning that the council approved a $4,000 transfer for the last 6 weeks of the year, I asked myself, just how much money is the city paying Zoning official Dwight Wilson for mileage to use his personal vehicle over the course of an entire year?

This led me to research city records. My discovery astonished me. The Planning and Zoning departments account has received $4,942.89 for mileage between January-September 2013.

This amount paired with last month’s $4,000, means that the Zoning and Planning department received $8,942.89 for the the fiscal year.

Now, let’s break down the math.

Mr. Wilson drives a late model Ford truck with a fuel capacity of 26 gallons. Its combined EPA - est. 15 mpg.

The Zoning Department received $8,942.89 this year, which we will divide by $3.09 per gallon. This leaves us with a total of 2,894 gallons of fuel or based off of a 26 gallon tank, 111 tanks of fuel. That comes out to roughly two tanks of fuel per week.

Now, that doesn’t sound too bad …. However, are you aware that 2,894 gallons of fuel at an EPA - est. of 15 mpg will take this truck 43,410 miles, or almost two laps around the Earth at the equator?

We can also look at this another way. Let’s say that he works all 260 working days of the year, including all holidays. That comes out to 166 miles every working day of the year. The city limits cover approximately 11 square miles. He would be able to drive continually for over 10 round trips per day at the city’s widest point. This drive time would take over three hours and 15 minutes per day, every day.

The mayor stated that the $4,000 transfer to cover mileage would be more than enough to finish out the rest of the year.

On that point, I agree with Mr. Rorie.

In fact, it is enough money to fuel the truck for over six round trips across the USA, and that is coast to coast!

I understand that mileage money and actual fuel cost are not the same. Paying mileage is the the equivalent of paying rent on a vehicle. I believe that it is unfair to put Mr. Wilson in a position to where he has to use his personal vehicle for city business.

From a taxpayer’s point of view, the dollars do not add up.

Mr. Wilson needs to be placed in a vehicle that the city already owns. Or the city could even purchase a vehicle and fuel it for less than $8,942.89 per year.

Once again, I believe this is evidence that poor management of your taxpayer dollars has been taking place.

In the future, it would be nice to see full-time city employees provided with a vehicle. In addition all city vehicles should be centrally located with log and mileage books maintained. This will prevent having large “balloon” payments for fuel to any department in the future as well as ensuring that city vehicles are only used for city business.

Over the past several months, I have proven time and again that your tax dollars have been poorly managed at City Hall.

Our local economy is in trouble and the infrastructure of our water and sewer system is outdated.

I have heard through reliable sources that Mayor Rorie will seek another term. He has served as mayor for the past seven years.

The question that I have for the community is: ” Are you better off than you were in 2006?”

Although the mayor presents himself in a semi-professional manner, it is my opinion that he is not effective as the city manager.

I encourage the community to come to the town hall meetings and see who is working for you, who is working against you, and who isn’t doing anything but collecting a salary.

Ben Hayes

Clinton

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