Letters to the Editor: City of Lancaster government continues at its worst
Lancaster had a city council meeting last night to approve a $.7775 to $.8675 property tax increase that caused the outrage of local citizens.
This tax increase will be the third tax increase in four years.
The council met last Friday evening and scheduled the Monday evening meeting with the intent to pass this new tax increase.
It appears the mayor and members of the Lancaster council intentionally scheduled this meeting to bypass citizen involvement.
I, like other concerned citizens, would not have known of this meeting unless we had not been notified by a flyer paid for by two individual citizens that was inserted in The Ellis County Press newspaper. This newspaper and flyer was distributed at the monthly Second Saturday event honoring the 9/11 tragedy.
Concerned citizens owe a great debt of gratitude to those two local citizens in keeping us affront of Lancaster government plans.
I suspect that the mayor and members of the city council were taken aback by the number of citizens attending their "Closed Door Meeting."
I referenced "Closed Door Meeting" based on the fact that the city secretary had the doors to the Municipal Hall locked until right before 6:30 p.m.
Citizens began arriving at 6 p.m. but were confined to the heat waiting for the doors to the hall to be opened.
This was the first signal the intended meeting was not meant to be inclusive.
As the meeting proceeded, the Municipal Hall was filled with city employees because one of the items on the agenda was the elimination of several city positions in an effort to reduce the planned budget.
Of course the city employees will be for any tax increase to save their jobs as the majority of them do not reside in Lancaster but just work in our community.
They will not be burdened by any tax increase.
An outpouring of city employees strengthened the mayor and city council’s position to pass the tax increase without the involvement of citizens.
I can only assume the mayor and city council intended to draw only those in support of their tax increase to this meeting but, to their surprise, concerned citizens heard word through the grapevine and were there in great numbers from all districts.
Instead of the mayor and city council rescheduling their meeting and finding another meeting place to accommodate all concerned citizens, they continued it and forced tax paying citizens to the outside hall of the chamber corralled like unwanted cattle.
The city secretary checked the mike to ensure it was in working order so those in the hall could listen to the meeting but, when the mayor began conducting the meeting, the mikes suddenly failed to work.
As a result of no mikes, those tax paying citizens corralled in the hall were unable to hear any of the meeting being conducted.
The conduct of the mayor and city council’s meeting was unprofessional and non-inclusive.
City officers posted at the door of the meeting had the audacity to threaten to remove any citizen for talking in the hall or complaining they were unable to hear.
This was another slap in the face to taxpaying citizens.
We weren’t allowed a voice or the right to hear the conduct of the meeting.
The mayor and city council made taxpaying citizens feel like our presence was unwelcomed.
They owe the citizens of Lancaster an apology and an explanation for their limited access and closed door attitude.
Jack McCauley Lancaster