Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Wellington resident Jeff Simpson was allowed to speak though not previously on the agenda.

City Manager Shane Shields, informed the council that he was approached by Simpson to speak after the deadline but it was up to the council to approve him time.

Council member Jim Valentine made the motion to allow Simpson time, followed by a second by council member Vince Wetta. The motion was passed 6-0 by all members voice vote.

After thanking the council for allowing him to speak he gave them a brief update as to why he was there to speak.

“I have been back in Wellington for approximately a decade and I have paid fairly close attention to what is going on in the city,” Simpson said. “In the last couple of years I have become both retired and disabled. So, as a single fixed income individual here in Wellington, I have come to opine about a few different things that I have recently come to light that you public servants are dealing with.”

Simpson stated that elected officials and bureaucrats, even with the best of intentions, do not possess the proper incentives to manage taxpayers money prudently at all times.

“They are not rewarded when they maximize consumer value,” he said. “They are not punished when they take extra risks and fail to minimize the costs. Government actors operate with limited knowledge. When a private company under performs and fails, the owners and investors loose. Government decision makers have no such guide. You have no way of accounting for the value and costs of your decisions, and when government fails the taxpayers fail.”

Simpson continue stating subsidies are justified to encourage development, but there needs to be a ceiling on spending.

“The truth is taxpayers can not continue to throw scarce dollars at things that don’t make economic sense,” Simpson said. The average citizen here, that includes myself, does not make a lot of money here. We are maxed out with taxes, high utilities, mill levies, half-cent sales tax everywhere. Most of them for good reason and with good intentions, but the well has run dry. Every time your spending dries up the funds; utility funds, general fund. You replenish from our pockets, higher utility bills, more mill levies or half-cent sale taxes. This needs to stop.”

He agreed the importance of Cowley College building a campus, stating that Cowley is a welcome addition to Wellington. But, the school should look at alternate methods of funding instead of relying on the strapped citizens of Wellington.

“Cowley College, as welcome as they are, needs to pony up instead of expecting us, the already strapped citizens of Wellington to fund the roads, water, sewer or what ever else comes up while they are trying to get started here,” he said. “We support them, but the allocation of funds and where they are coming from seriously needs to be looked at.”

As Simpson concluded his time, he thanked the council for allowing him the opportunity to voice his opinion to them and asked them to consider future projects.

“I again, do appreciate your service and all you are trying to do to help Wellington grow,” he said. “I just ask moving forward, that we all look really hard where our money is going or why, and what the real tangible returns are going to be. How we fund well intentioned and good projects like Cowley College, just be careful.”

As he walked away from the podium, the small crowed gathered in the meeting room applauded his words.

Mayor Shelley Hansel thanked both Simpson for his words and council member Valentine for making the motion.