Council wrestles with balancing budget with new tax on water, sewer districts

by Jack Mayne

A proposal to impose a new 16 percent tax on sewer and water districts drew the ire of a large number of Des Moines residents at last Thursday night’s City Council meeting.

For well over an hour, residents and the utility districts involved in budget balancing taxes scolded, chastised and criticized the city administration and Council, many calling for staff cuts and the freezing, even lowering, of city staff salaries.

In the end, the utility taxes were put over to the Council session on Nov. 12, while smaller taxes on surface water and cable utilities were moved on for final passage at a later meeting.

More for less
Des Moines resident David Diedrichsen told the Council on Thursday (Oct. 29) that he has been laid off from Boeing four times and each time was rehired to work at a lower pay rate, and said the city is going to have to do more with less.

“Maybe the City of Des Moines needs to be liquidated as a legal entity and absorbed by SeaTac or Normandy Park,” he said to chuckles from the audience. “I don’t understand as a resident, the value to me adding 16 percent to my water bill when the water district is already self-contained and self-funded.

“Why can’t you make do with the funds you’ve got, or cut? Everyone else is cutting. Do more with less.”

Several resident suggested cutting city employee salaries or not giving them raises, even turning some activities over to volunteers.

Mayor Pro Tem Matt Pina said later that there is a view that the city has not been cutting, but it has. City Manager Tony Piasecki said the city staff has been cut often and is in some departments half what it was in 2000.

Adding police officers
Bob Pond said the city voted three times but “we were scammed out of our promised police officers.”

But three officers are included in this budget proposal, but that did not placate him.

“This Council is going against the will of the people,” Pond said.

This increase in utility taxes to 16 percent “is a tax and spend liberal plan all on the back of the taxpayers,” said Pond.

“This is outrageous.”

He said more cuts should come at the same time as the city should strengthen police and fix city streets.

“We are a struggling city and need to focus in on the basics,” he said. “I think the people of Des Moines will never pass a tax again if you do this to people.”

Another resident, Harry Steinmetz, said the increase was too much for the utility districts and that “any raises for anybody is absolutely ill advised.”

Steinmetz said the Council was “having a real problem with transparency and showing that you understand the outrage and the frustration of the community.”

Utility tax may be illegal
Resident Martin Metz said the “drastic increase in the utility taxes of 16 percent” might not be legal. The decision on that will come with a future court case testing whether it is legal for government entities to tax each other.

Metz said the imposition of a 6 percent utility tax last year in SeaTac has led to “a full-blown voter revolt” there.

He said he urged the Council to continue to seek out new business in the city as well as keeping existing ones.

“If as much effort was placed on this as on antagonizing the citizens things would be a lot smoother with jobs and employment bringing the needed revenue that the city needs to operate,” Metz said.

John Rayback, a director of Water District 54 which serves downtown Des Moines, said the city should not tax the district because it provides water for fire suppression. He also noted that the city is one of the district’s customers so the water will cost it more as well as other users.

Candace Urquhart said that since a lot of city residents make less than $40,000 a year that the city consider a 2.6 percent decrease in salaries of city workers, instead of an increase in taxes for hard pressed citizens. She received cheers and applause from the audience.

Several other citizens suggested the city’s financial condition was such that no city worker salary increases should be made.

Utilities protest tax hike
Midway Sewer District manager Ken Kase said his billing system is not set up to collect the tax and also to pay the state additional excise taxes on increased revenue and wants people from the city to “come and talk with us and figure something out here.”

Then it was Southwest Suburban Sewer District’s Ron Hall who said he wondered why the city did not seek to meet with the district to see if some sort of accommodation could be worked out.

Hall wondered if the city was going to inform residents of the 16 percent tax rate “or leave that up to us through a bill,” and that it appeared that the city was “forcing the utility districts to do its dirty work.” Then he noted that some of the city’s calculations on the tax increased revenue projections are faulty.

Nor was there any attempt to negotiate a franchise agreement with the district that could include a utility tax, Hall said. Such agreements are now under negotiation with the cities of SeaTac and Normandy Park where similar utility tax increases recently have been approved.

Hall wanted the city to put the increase on hold and negotiate a franchise agreement.

General Manager Matt Everett of Highline Water District said Des Moines was the third city in the last year to propose increases in the tax rate. He said he was “shocked” when he found that Des Moines was a 16 per cent tax when Normandy Park and SeaTac sought only a 6 percent tax.

Hardship on residents
“The district strongly opposes the city’s proposed utility tax,” said Everett, because it would cause a hardship for Des Moines residents and is a regressive tax. He noted that it was a problem to get the billing software in place to collect the tax, especially since the district spans other city jurisdictions.

Everett noted that the Highline Water District has cut staff by about a third in the past few year and “it has not be without pain.” He suggested the city would be unwise to add three police officers when the city is financially struggling.

Councilmember Matt Pina said the reason to add three police officers was “because we need them.”

At the opening of the public comment was “Redondo Rick” Johnson who read a two-year old state auditors report concerning the declining income to the city and continued to read from the report and from comments about the Council forgetting for whom they worked. Mayor Dave Kaplan said his time had expired, but Johnson continued to talk until his microphone was turned off.

When Johnson left the speaker’s rostrum, Kaplan was clearly heard to say, “Same obnoxious bullshit every week.” Here’s a video:

In point of fact, a new auditor’s report says the city is on the path to repair areas outlined in the report Johnson was reading. That auditor’s report is slated to be discussed at an upcoming Council meeting.

Homeless encampments
The Council will hold a public hearing on the homeless ordinance Thursday, Nov. 5 at City Hall, but resident Doreen Harper said the city’s proposed rules for faith-based homeless encampments needed to include requiring a 1,000-foot buffer around schools.

“You don’t need homeless people roaming around schools,” Harper said.

City Manager Piasecki said the state law requires the city not have any rules “that unreasonably burden” religious organizations in having an encampment and would address issues at a meeting later.

“The draft (of the homeless ordinance) is the most restrictive that I have seen” that still is within state law,” Piasecki said.

Lawyer on Woodmont
Sheila Brush said it was “very ironic” you are using money to pay for an attorney to review the environmental policy decision on the Woodmont recovery center application when you made it clear it was “for all of you” and “not for any of us here.” She wanted the name of the attorney hired.

Piasecki said they city has not hired an attorney as yet, but the Council ordered final discussions with an attorney.

Brush asked if the name of the attorney would be public when a person is hired and City Attorney Pat Bosmans said a copy of the attorney’s contract would be provided if there were a public records request.

Brush said the Council was putting up a “barrier to justice” and the citizens would have to hire their own attorney to “undo what you did in your negligence to push this through.”


57 Responses to “Council wrestles with balancing budget with new tax on water, sewer districts”
  1. John Castronover says:

    The Des Moines City Government AKA The Kaplan Gang has never come up against a community as relentless a group as we now have To each of you, thank you for your constant stance against an unjust and deceitful City Council.

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    • Stellas_1970 says:

      Your welcome….this whole thing is a fiasco. The city states it NOW wants to hire the officers it said it was going to hire. However, I believe it is three building officials and a planning examiner that they hired instead. The wheel just keeps spinning…but now WE the Citizens are noticing and taking action.

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  2. Same Obnoxious Bullshit says:

    When asked what the % breakdown of the tax increase is proposed to be, the Mayor’s response is this…

    The tax on solid waste (garbage) would go from 8% to 18%, with 45% of the money going to the General Fund and the other 55% of the money going to street maintenance (paving.)

    The tax on cable would go from 8% to 10%, with 100% of the money going to the General Fund.

    The tax on Surface Water Management (SWM) would go from 8% to 16%, with 82% going to the General Fund and the other 18% of the money going to street maintenance.


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    • Kat says:

      Dave Kaplan is so unprofessional. This is a man that clearly doesn’t like his job. I say we recall him. He’s an embarrassment to the city just as his predecessor was, Bob Sheckler. Out of touch and outdated governing ideas and policies. Kaplan like Sheckler is an old grouchy. I’m so tired of looking at their faces. Thank God Sheckler leaves next month, hopefully Kaplan will be next.

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  3. Dolores Church says:

    As a new resident to Des Moines, I want to thank the blog for its informed and insightful reporting on local issues. Articles like this are a good reminder that substantive information just can’t be conveyed in 120 characters or a Facebook post. Sounds like the folks at the council meeting don’t want more for less, they want something for nothing.

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    • Martin Metz says:

      You stated you are a new resident. Keep your eyes open, get involved, connect with like-minded folks, and you may see differently over time.

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  4. Fed up with complainers says:

    DM residents pay some of the lowest taxes in the region, yet they still want all the services. You pay for what you get people. If you want more cops, pay for it. If you want better streets, pay for it. If you want better parks, pay for it. The staff is already very small and they are probably underpaid for all the whining they deal with.

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    • RedondoRick says:

      Fed Up, Most residents of Des Moines, want their taxes to be used in a responsible way. You might not think of the hardship this will cause many in this community. Look up the Accountability Audit Report done in 2013. “This City’s financial condition has continued to DECLINE, the City’s General Fund net income and ending balance has declined, revenues have decreased, and expenditures have increased.” It’s all there in black and white! The City is $1.7 million in the RED. How can it continue without insolvency? Your so called underpaid government, is running this City into the ground. They promised us three new officers this year. Now it might be 2017 before we see them. So now going on seven years of declining revenues, the City once again wants the taxpayers to bail them out. It’s time this council shows some responsibility with how they deal with our money. Do their job, and not expect the taxpayer of always being their fall guy. Everything I say is the truth. Changes must be made in this council. You have one council member who leave’s early at almost every meeting. Collecting his $250 and going home. And you talk about underpaid! There’s been so MUCH more corruption in this council. I’m tired trying to talk to blinded people, who have no facts to show, only your continued propaganda. Wake up! This City is in trouble. At least some are doing what we feel is needed, to bring back the quality of life we all deserve…Rr

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      • DM Resident says:

        Redondo Rick, first let me say that everything you say isn’t the truth, it’s your version of the truth. I’ve seen you in action at council meetings and then read follow up post by you on here and they seem to be far from the truth from my observations.

        Second, you are trying to hold the wrong council accountable. This council with the exception of Sheckler ISN”T the one that ran this city into the ground. It was all the councils prior to the current that didn’t want development, saying we don’t want to lose our small town feel. You can now see where that attitude and those actions have gotten us. This council has done more to promote development and attempted to improve the financial and economic condition of this city than any in the last 20 years.

        Lastly, you are just a NIMBY and pissed over the Woodmont Recovery Center. I don’t want it here either but I do believe the city, including Piasecki were doing what they legally had to do. I also don’t believe the council members knew many of the details. I think most of this type of thing is simply routed through an internal process and it NEVER has any input from council.

        Lastly, please don’t speak for me as a resident on this blog, at a council meeting, or anywhere else you feel it is your duty to speak for EVERY resident of this city. I’m certain I have a far better understanding of this city and how it runs than you will ever have.

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        • SaveDesMoines says:

          Keep it up Redondo Rick, and you can speak for me as a resident of Des Moines any day….

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        • Erin Evans says:

          Dave Kaplan is that you? Walks like a duck…quacks like a duck…

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          • John Castronover says:

            Dave Kaplan posting as an anonymous poster, now didn’t your attorney tell you guys to stay off of social media and the blogs.

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        • Fed up with complainers says:

          well said.

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      • Des Moines Homeowner says:

        @ Rodondo Rick. A little off topic here, but I get what you’re point is. Instead of Police officers, we get an Arts Council and a Transportation District who have board members which I believe have increased in size. How can we find out what those positions pay and if they have stellar benefits. I’m also paying property taxes for a pool that I don’t even know the location. Clearly, the city of Des Moines has their priorities wrong when the safety of the community is furthest on the list of importance.

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    • Wanker says:

      Thank you Fed Up! It’s actually a pretty small group of complainers, they’re just really vocal. They now have 2 Facebook pages, The NIMBY Rehab page, and Des Moines CAN (I think it stands for Complaining and Negativity), have taken over, and

      I personally think that the current council is doing the best they can with a difficult situation, and am excited for all the new construction that is just beginning in our area.

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      • Mysty beal says:

        I’m no fan of the council but completely understand why the city-hired attorney would be for the city’s benefit as opposed to the citizen’s. Should Valley Cities decide to sue, they’d be going after the City, not you. If you don’t like the proceedings, put your money where your mouth is and hire your own attorney instead of wasting it on obnoxious signs planted illegally in the city right-of-ways.

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        • SaveDesMoines says:

          Hmmmmm, Mysty beal, do you think that the city council is paying for our attorney out of their own pocket? Or do you think it’s us the taxpayers that are doing the paying?

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          • Mysty beal says:

            Of course I am aware that we’re footing the bill, just as we would should anyone decide to sue the city.

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          • SaveDesMoines says:

            So Mysty beal, if we are paying for it why is that not putting our money where our mouth is? Would you rather be footing the bill so that a few of our leaders can cover their asses for mistakes that have been made, or paying for for an impartial attorney that can explain what really are, and aren’t, the legal rights of the citizens of this city…

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          • Mysty Beal says:

            I don’t believe a land-use attorney would be the one “that can explain what really are, and aren’t, the legal rights of the citizens of this city”. If you think the councilmembers are lying or deceitful, then cite your grounds, hire an attorney and mount a recall attempt. If there are 500 of you, as noted in an earlier reply, surely you could hire someone good to advise you.

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      • Wanker says:

        Umm…… No, an acronym that means “not in my back yard” does not share the same weight as a derogatory term with racist roots, stemming from slavery. That is quite possibly the dumbest thing I have heard this week, thank you for confirming my opinion of the local NIMBYs.

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        • SaveDesMoines says:

          Wow Wanker, ” confirming my opinion of the local NIMBY’s” I would have to say that you sound pretty shallow, not to mention that you haven’t a clue as to what you are talking about……

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          • Wanker says:

            You didn’t see the comment this was in response to, that the blog removed. Someone compared the term NIMBY to the N Word. Regardless of your opinion of the local political climate you would have to agree that is one of the most absurd allegations ever.

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          • SaveDesMoines says:

            I do have a question for you Wanker. Is it ever OK to be a, as you call, “NIMBY”? When are people allowed to stand up and fight for something they believe in? Are we just supposed to always settle for whatever our government tells us is the right thing. Isn’t just the simple fact of voting against something being a “NIMBY”? Is there ever a time to be proactive rather than proactive. I guess I’m just trying to gauge where you draw the line that separates being a voting citizen who cares, and a “NIMBY”….

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          • SaveDesMoines says:

            Sorry, meant, “proactive rather than reactive”!

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          • Wanker says:

            If you don’t want something in your backyard, you are a NIMBY. It’s not a positive or negative connotation, it’s just a statement. I think this current group of NIMBYs are irresponsible in their claims, and in blaming everything on the city council.

            I applaud NIMBYs in communities that have rallied against Walmart. NIMBY is simply a acronym, behavior associated with it is what determines the connotation.

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          • SaveDesMoines says:

            Sorry Wanker, but that’s a pretty weak reply. Blaming everything on the city council? No, that’s so far from the truth. most of the blame has been on Valley Cities, the council has been blamed for trying to hide what was going from the community. What claims have we all been irresponsible about? If we don’t want it in our area, which many of our representatives agree with, are we not supposed to fight it? Or is just ok to rally against a WalMart and not a methadone clinic so near to an Elementary school. You have me confused!

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          • Wanker says:

            You wanted an example, and I gave you one. I am getting the sense that unless I agree with you, you wont be happy. Can I ask you a few questions though?

            If you’re upset with Valley Cities, DM City Council, the City Manager, etc. Why are you not rallying against all the seedy motels that cater to the addicts? How come you’re not protesting the people living in the woods on the property that Valley Cities owns and other adjacent properties? How come your not protesting the trailer park behind Woodmont Elementary where a sex offender lives?

            It seems to me that a facility like Valley Cities while not desirable is necessary, and a product of our own complacency against these other issues. Also, the common argument makes it sound like brain eating, child molesting zombies are going to be roaming the streets if the facility is built. Unfortunately, we already have that in the untreated addicts who are stealing our mail, breaking into our houses, and cars. At least give them a facility to be treated.

            The location to Woodmont to me is irrelevant. I would rather have a guarded and monitored facility than the unguarded woods, and the seedy motel right next to the property.

            Be upset if you want to about the facility, but if you’re not evaluating the whole picture you are being irresponsible rabble rousers.

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          • SaveDesMoines says:

            Wanker, I agree with you in some ways, there are many more issues that need to be paid attention to. I believe that is why they started the new group, to address concerns that are separate from the Valley Cities issue. I believe the mishandling of this project has stirred up a hornets nest in a situation where the hornets didn’t even know there was a nest. I never had such a sense of community until this whole thing started, I guess if nothing else something positive has come out of this whole mess. I would be the first to admit that in the past I paid more attention to my own life and never really thought of my neighborhood as a community. My, how things have changed.

            Now regarding your comment about zombies roaming the streets. Well, many of us have put in a countless number of hours researching other clinics, of course nothing comparable to this because nothing comparable exists, and there are plenty of examples of bad things happening. Won’t go and list any of the stories now, but suffice it to say that there are enough that it has many parents in our neighborhood concerned. I’m sure you could come back with a bunch of research proving that crime does not increase after a clinic moves in, I saw some of that as well. Problem is, some say yes crime will increase and some say no it won’t. Guess we just don’t feel like being the guinea pigs where people can say later, “Oh, I’m sorry violent crime did go up in your neighborhood and your kid just got beat up for his backpack, darn guess I was wrong. Sorry!”

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          • SaveDesMoines says:

            Sorry for rambling on!!

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          • Wanker says:

            SaveDM. I belong to the local Des Moines Community Group, and most of the “research” that gets shared is totally irrelevant to our community. When someone tries to share an opposing viewpoint, or opposing research the handful of active anti-rehab people lash out at them. One of the reasons I choose to be anonymous is because of the irrational behavior of the NIMBY group. One of the more active ones posted a picture holding a rifle today with the comment:

            “I bust this one out when I’m ready to kick some butt or I smell a rat. Given the state of our local politics… I’m about to do both. ”

            While I am sure their threat to shoot the local politicians is just idle rabble rousing, I am not going to chance making my name known. Now you tell me who I should be worried about?

            99 is always going to be full of crime regardless of what is built there. It’s that way in North Seattle, Everett, Des Moines, Tukwila. It’s long been overlooked as just the way it is. When we moved to the Woodmont area, I was a little concerned with the proximity of Woodmont Elementary, and the church school to 99. The Rehab clinic does nothing to change that.

            I personally feel my kid is more likely to get beaten up for a backpack now, than after the facility is built

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          • SaveDesMoines says:

            Well, what can I say Wanker we are just going to have to agree to disagree and we’ll each move on to fight our own battles….

            Hopefully, someday at least, you’re kids will be able to thank us for putting in so much to fight for their safety and we did that rather than being applauded for fighting some social issue, such as a villainous Walmart….

            Good day, peace out!

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          • Wanker says:

            Thanks DH! By the way, while I doubt you would take action with a rifle/pellet gun, given your vocal opposition of the city council I would refrain from such posts. There was a situation about 6 months ago where a commenter on the B-Town blog made a sarcastic comment about tar and feathering Lauren Berkowitz, an overly dramatic Burien city council member. She claimed it was a reasonable threat, and the police were involved. Not trying to scare you. I don’t know the outcome, but doubt anything came of it. I’m not threatening to report you or anything, just simply saying “be smart “.

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          • Tirina says:

            Wanker, I was very negatively attacked by people who want the rehab facility. It goes both ways. I, myself, have been a patient at Valley Cities and was a bio/chem major before switching to exercise physiology so I understand the chemistry of medications. They suck at what they do. Their doctors over-medicate and don’t properly diagnose people. They wanted to give me an anti-convulsant because I wasn’t sleeping well. Do you have any idea how many side effects those have and they are not supposed to be prescribed for sleep. They don’t know what they are doing. I saw 4 of the 8 docs/nurses….all idiots!! They don’t test for nutrition deficiencies, or thyroid conditions, or adrenal gland problems, or genetic conditions, or anything that mimics mental health problems. They just medicate you with crap that makes you sicker and causes weight gain and memory problems and 100’s of other issues. They have 2 psychiatrists ….the rest are nurses who decided to work in mental health. They were not trained to counsel or medicate people with mental health problems in school. It’s all BS. The counselors do a pretty good job, but they aren’t the ones running the ship and there are not enough appointment times available to do anyone any good. Counseling works far better than meds in the end…but it is NOT profitable. Psychiatry is about profit and control. It scares the heck out of me to think Valley Cities would be running the biggest facility like this in the country. It should scare you too.

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          • Wanker says:

            Just to be clear, I am neither for nor against the rehab. I am just annoyed by the behavior of those who don’t want it in their back yard (but are apparently not NIMBYs). I am for building something on the land it will occupy, as I am more worried about the people living in the woods next to the elementary school than the rehab.

            If it does go somewhere else, more power to your group, but we’re still stuck with people living in woods, stealing and panhandling at Safeway and Fred Meyers, and venturing into our neighborhood to commit crimes.

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          • Mysty Beal says:

            Civility left this page when ignorance walked in. Thank you for your balanced perspective.

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          • Tirina Deignan says:

            You are most welcome Mysty! 🙂

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          • Rick Johnson says:

            Wanker, If you think that adding 500 more addicts a day to the Recovery Campus won’t add to the problem, your lost in the reality you live in. What do you think we’re fighting in having this WRC built here.
            We have said all along it’s the location, that’s wrong. Not by a school and Library!
            Heaven knows we need these facility’s, but not in this location. I’m not sure why your opposition, calls are group NIMBY’s? We are all neighbors that want the best for each other. Why call names? We have a educated and talented forum in our group! We need to work together to achieve the best for Des Moines. We’re not vigilantes, were your neighbors looking out for the unjustice going on within our government!
            And for the 105 lb women with the gun, for goodness sake, it was only a joke! …Rr

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          • Wanker says:

            Read the entire comment thread, all answers to your questions are there including the term NIMBY, my concern for what’s already there, other factors that should be addressed first. My recommendation to that 105 pound woman with a gun etc.

            Yes you are my neighbor, the “unjustice” you’re supposedly fighting for on my behalf is not welcomed, or warranted. The only INJUSTICE that I see, is the way that your group behaves.

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          • RedondoRick says:

            I agree with Save Des Moines, Your out of touch with reality, not worth more ink…Rr

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      • WM Homie says:

        It’s actually close to 500 people who support the No Woodmont Rehab efforts. That’s not a small group. Your NIMBY charge is worth challenging because you either don’t live in Woodmont or you don’t care about children. If you met either one of those qualifiers, I think you would have a different perspective. The C.A.N. stands for Community Action Network spawned from the idea that every tax paying citizen in the City of Des Moines has a right to be heard and represented. It’s something that has been missing for quite some time.

        Wanker, if there is ever anything that you disagree with in terms of the decisions being made in our city, then you should be able to come to the C.A.N. group and voice your concerns so those of like-minded thought can help you get your message conveyed in order to make a difference.

        I realize that change can be difficult for some, but if something is broke, someone has to take initiative to fix it. Criticizing those who care about this town is not a way to build a better community.

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        • Wanker says:

          Actually, I do live in Woodmont, and am a parent. The behavior of many in the local NIMBY group embarrasses me. You can have acronyms up that ying yang that mean whatever they want, but unless you actually take steps to better an area rather than just complaining all the time they are meaningless letters.

          Also, the only reason why there are so many on this comment thread opposing my point of view is because a couple people posted in the “Action” group about this comment thread. So, yeah, I guess the Community “Action” Network is all keyboard related

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        • Fed up with complainers says:

          Really, EVERY taxpayer? even the ones who live in Pacific Ridge? do you REALLY want to hear from them. I highly doubt that. I say that because their needs likely would not line up with your desires for the city and, therefore, you would choose to quiet their voices.

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        • DM Resident says:

          WM Homie,
          500 people is what you want to use as your “majority”? I would submit to you the other 29500 residents of Des Moines don’t care.

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      • Martin Metz says:

        Small group? Were you there? Did you listen to all the citizens and the representatives of the utilities involved. Folks across the community were there. I commend them.

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        • Wanker says:

          A small group in a small environment does not make them big. Do I sound concerned with the Rehab? No, so why would I be there?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 14

          • Tirina says:

            Why go to a city council meeting Wanker? Maybe to support your city and the city council who you feel we as a group have wronged. Maybe to get involved in what goes on in your city in person, rather than spew negativity on blogs under fake names.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 12

    • Kat says:

      Fed up with complainers… Don’t be a sheep.

      Rate: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  5. Erin Evans says:

    I look forward to all of you writing in support of the tax hikes and Valley Cities building near a school, to show up in person at the next City Council, which is this Thursday and voice you view, publicly and with solid research and facts of why you are in support.

    Freedom of speech is everyone’s constitution right, you should be proud to live in a community where citizens do care enough to speak out, I applaud the courage it is taking them to get up there week after week, writing a reply behind the shadows, under a pen name is nothing but cowardly.

    What are the taxes in other cities? State your research, that would be very helpful, not just a baseless opinion.

    Thanks for letting me know there is a new group, Des Moines CAN, I read the mission statement and look forward to more citizens getting involved. I believe Councilman Pennington suggested this in the first place. Had you been to City Council meetings, you would of heard him say it’s “Very Cool” how involved a number of citizens have become and he hopes it continues and grows, he was directly addressing the group of concerned parents, friends, and neighbors that many of you keep referring to in such a negative manner.

    Instead of wasting anymore time criticizing, why don’t we all concentrate on a positive plan for the future. I do not believe so many professionals would of spoke out against the tax increase, if they were done in a reasonable and logical format, which they were clearly not.

    Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 12

    • Wanker says:

      If that was what this group did, I’m all for it. However, the group we’re talking about just complains and blames everything on the city council

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 26

  6. Kevin says:

    Full disclosure here, I am a new resident of Des Moines and have not been here long enough to form a lasting negative or positive opinion of the City Council or the senior staff City Employees. That said, I have been at every City Council meeting since September learning as much as I CAN regarding how this city operates.

    One thing for sure, it does NOT take being a long time Des Moines resident to know that “Tax and Spend” is NEVER a productive deficit reduction strategy. Nor will raising people’s taxes 51% cumulative (^2% Cable, ^7% Surface Water, ^10% Garbage, +16% Sewage, +16% Water) in one fell swoop ever garner the goodwill of the majority of tax payers.

    I do not expect nor want anything for free and am always willing to pay my fair share. As is, according to the budget power point presented last week, if we continue on this path, the City will have a staggering ~6 million dollar deficit out of an ~18 million dollar total budget within the next 5 years. I am not sure how anyone thinks this is a good thing.

    As the old adage goes…”if you always fish how you have always fished, you will always catch what you have always caught.” It’s time for change and Des Moines CAN change if we work together!

    Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 3

  7. LatteDad says:

    How can they afford all the new police cars?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 13

    • DM Resident says:


      Had you followed any of the information about the new patrol cars you would know the cars the police department got rid of were eight years old. I don’t know much about police cars but I bet an eight year old police car is VERY OLD and high mileage. I’d actually prefer an officer make it to my door in his/her car when I call 911 and not on foot.

      Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 7

  8. Des Moines Homeowner says:

    There is no doubt that Des Moines has been in a rapid decline for the last 10-12 years. We are being told that our utility taxes are increasing nearly 100% and we have no voice in the matter? Who does this to their own community? We are fighting to stop a drug/mental health facility from being built in our neighborhood that should have never been approved. Who does this to their own community? The empty promises for police officers continue. Who is in charge of this fiasco? If not the council, then who? What is happening in Des Moines is ludicrous and we all need to protest this corruption and fight for the little guy who is paying the bills. Where is the leadership?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 14

  9. Julie says:

    So how come all of the raises in public utilities? Don’t we get a vote on this? How do you expect this to impact those of us who are retired, or those who are barely making ends meet? Seems absolutely ridiculous to me, we are not talking about a little impact to our paychecks!

    In regards to the Valley City moving into the neighborhood, I predict this will be nothing but a huge problem. Just what you don’t need people driving under the influence in a school zone or on the roads anywhere. Will see a lot of homeless moving into Saltwater Park and that is not a good thing. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be panhandled anywhere I go. And I sure as hell don’t want the druggies wandering into my neighborhood.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

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