Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Letter to the Mayor

Linz Brown, who spoke against the sales tax proposal at last Tuesday's city council meeting is having the following following letter hand delivered to the Mayor's office today. Posted with Dr. Brown's permission:

August 28, 2007

Mr. Brad Cole, Mayor

City of Carbondale

200 S. Illinois Avenue

Carbondale, Illinois 62901

Dear Mayor Cole:

I am writing to express my concern about one issue involved in the sales tax increase approved by the City Council on Tuesday, August 21, 2007. That concern is the lack of disclosure in the intergovernmental agreement with SIU. Neither the public hearing documents, the proposed ordinance, or the Council resolution authorizing you to execute the agreement disclosed any of the understandings, provisions, safeguards, or other important contents of the twenty-year, twenty million dollar arrangement.

As you will recall, this issue was raised in my prepared statement during the public hearing on Tuesday, August 21, 2007. My comments were as follows: “This proposal does not contain any attached agreements or written provisions that set forth the understandings and conditions for a commitment to SIU. Are you going to vote without knowing what you are committing to or without exploring the financial and legal ramifications of this commitment in writing? That would be totally irresponsible. What about the public? Don’t they have a right to see and react to any proposed agreement as part of the proposal before there is a vote?”

A proposed agreement should have been drafted and included in the proposal packet for the Public Hearing and the Council meeting. This would have been consistent with previous practice by the City. You consistently include contracts, bond documents, and other agreements as part of board meeting packets. Why should this agreement be an exception?

I feel the public has the right to ask for full disclosure on proposed agreements that commit large sums of tax money for non-city purposes for extended periods of time. As a long-time resident, registered voter, and taxpayer in the City of Carbondale, I am requesting that you and/or the City Manager do not sign the intergovernmental agreement until it is available for public comment and returned to the City Council for approval.

Sincerely yours,

Linz C. Brown

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