The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 25, 2012

READER'S LETTER: Rowland, Gassman stand up for residents

Letter to the Editor

CLINTON — I would like to thank Councilmen John Rowland and Paul Gassman for standing up for all the residents in this city.

By requesting the state of Iowa to take a closer look into the dealings of the city of Clinton they have shown that they do want to be accountable to the citizens.

I, like many, believe the sewer and solid waste is only a beginning point and I believe all the financial records should be scrutinized.

It’s amazing that a town the size of Clinton could have the distinction of having the highest sewer rates in the entire state, soon to be possibly the highest in the whole country.

It’s not a new problem but a problem that has grown and been given lip service for many years, now ballooning to a point it can no longer be ignored, hid under the carpet or passed along in the form of increases.

It’s amazing also that they cannot muster the date to intelligently estimate the cost of garbage collection or find a way to bill even when given the approval to charge an interim flat rate. 

It appears they’ve also chosen to give up the thought of charging with a tipping fee (the one that was sold to us as better than sliced bread) ultimately abandoning all the equipment and software purchased for that purpose.

We’re more than a year into a PAYT (Pay As You Throw) system and they never charged a dime and doubtful if they have even established a complete list of customers to bill.

Has anyone been told what this system cost just for hardware, let alone the total estimated revenue lost? Back to the sewage system, has anyone been told the true cost of the sewage treatment facility along with all the associated piping, lift systems, etc. let alone what the additional costs of operation and maintenance?

These are only two of the critical items pending in our city. Not to mention lawsuits, EMS billing and accountability or lack thereof. How much have we paid out in legal fees and/or legal settlements? It appears there are many more.

I don’t know if resignation is the solution, though right now it does sound like a viable path. I don’t know that all the council should be held to the same level as some have tried to be the voice of reason, only to be out voted by a group seemingly with little business sense and making decisions on emotion other than facts and common sense.

I believe now we have two councilmen that have shown true leadership and want this city to get back on a path of openness, accountability and become a city united instead of divided. This will take time and some new thinking, some rethinking and some courage to say “no” to spending until such time our finances can be corralled and regain the fiscal responsibility we should demand.

Darold Charnoski,