STILLWATER, Okla. — Dennis Gronquist
To the editor:
Stillwater is a community where the largest employer is OSU with 4,771 employees in FY-2013 (or 16 percent of total city employment). One would think, with such a knowledge base at our disposal, we should know how to manage our own money. Not so. With control of the City Council long held by OSU and a few local retailocrats we have lost our ability of practical reasoning. These well-meaning people stand proudly to rave about their grand accomplishments. They have worked long and hard to find new ways to spend other people’s money. They were elected and are therefore obligated to spend more than they have, like their federal government. Their hired superhero is Revenueman (the city manager, Dan Galloway), who finds new ways to get more money for them to spend on what he wants. A skilled salesman, Revenueman can sell anything to the Council. Most of the municipal governments in Oklahoma get by on 2 cents to 3 cents of sales tax revenue as mandated by a vote of their people. Stillwater gets 3.5 cents of the sales tax burden for the city alone. But even that is not enough. We nearly double that amount when you add in the City Council’s SUA (slush fund) of $19.35 million approved in the FY-2015 budget. That slush fund alone amounts to about $90/month on every house’s utility bill. Is this academics at work? It is certainly not common sense. It seems as though any relationship between academic knowledge and common sense is purely coincidental.