12:45 PM EST, February 15, 2013
Please, let me click my heals to find out I am still in Baltimore after all ("Mayor takes a risk," Feb. 12). We city residents have stuck by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as she promised lots of magical change if we only stay. We waited patiently to see if she really would invest in our neighborhoods — those of us who don't live at the Harbor or in Canton, that is. We gulped when she closed recreation centers at a time when our crime rate is still too high, but we didn't bolt.
But now the mayor has proposed a fee for picking up our trash. Has she been inhaling the fumes from our solid waste furnace? Yes, residents in the counties who pay half or less in taxes for their $500,000 homes than we do in working class Baltimore neighborhoods, do pay a fee for trash collection. That's no reason to penalize the poor who already have to choose between food and health care. Or to stick it to the elderly who eke by on fixed incomes and have to rob their IRAs to pay city real estate taxes. Of course, I realize it's a premium service the Department of Public Works provides each time I have to call three times to get my trash picked up because the truck didn't want to drive all the way to the end of my street.
A fee on trash collection will only entice the more conscientious residents to drop their trash into dumpsters maintained by businesses and apartments. Others will simply dump it on residential streets, none of which ever get a city-funded clean-up detail. Not to mention the increase in the rat population feasting on the refuse.
Yes, let's spare the rich developers from paying their fair share of taxes. I'd love someone to do the research to determine how many of these multi-millionaires live in my city. Give them some breaks, but stop letting them blackmail us with threats they'll go elsewhere with their projects. The mayor needs to stop acting like we're a second-class city with a population that will put up with continued tax inequity. Yes, the proposed fee is really just another tax in disguise. And, we're supposed to be happy because this may drop our tax rate by, at best, 10 pennies?
Some time ago, I read on bus stop benches that we are "The Greatest City in America," and "A City That Reads." This city resident just might go off to see the wizard and see if he can talk some sense into the mayor.
Ellen Marshall, Gardenville
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