Councilman Murphy was absolutely correct when he stated “…these sentiments are going to be controversial and may rile up some of my friends.”
His view that the city bears little responsibility to those outside its border may be accurate in a vast metropolis but doesn’t reflect reality in the urban-rural setting of the city he represents.
He is mistaken in thinking that residents pay for the cost of government, they most assuredly do not, tax revenue does.
Tax revenue, generated by a heterogeneous local economy, from a myriad of sources and not just city imposed ad valorem taxes. The largest contributors to that economy are agriculture, which is not conducted within the city limits, followed closely by State and Federal spending, predominantly education, which is tax exempt.
Without the impetus of these economic engines and the jobs they provide, the good Councilman can not possibly believe the city tax base would be expansive enough to support the “…infrastructure, public safety, facilities construction and maintenance and much more…” that residents currently enjoy.
Further, his flippant comment that “…if folks outside Stephenville want to use city services and facilities, they need to pay their fair share…” and his dismissive attitude about non resident sales taxes is confusing since those folks contribute some 2 million dollars to the city’s coffers every year.
A sum representing between 15-20% of the city’s operating revenue, and equaling or exceeding residential property tax collections.
More to the point of his letter, that sum is roughly the same as the combined annual expenditure on ‘Culture and Recreation’ and ‘Community Development’.
Is 100% a large enough share?
Does the city really “…subsidize the entertainment and recreation of non-residents…” as he suggests, or is it the other way around? Neither is true, of course.
Councilman, as a good steward of the public trust, you are responsible to everyone whose money you spend, as a politician, on the other hand, you are responsible only to your constituency.
Which one are you sir? You said we “…should be good neighbors indifferent to turf…” and thus I urge you to be the good steward and take the time to think about what you are saying before saying what you think.
Master Chief Petty Officer,
U.S. Navy (Ret.)