- Cullman, Alabama

February 11, 2013

City's 'outrageous' asking fee

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Just read the Jan. 20, 2013, article about the city eyeing a plan to charge fees for city records. If these records are for the public to access, how can this council consider the outrageous asking fee. Do the clerical employees make the $45 per hour they are considering as a charge? Next thing we will find out is they will consider a fee for the lights to be turned on or doors to be unlocked to City Hall.  What gives all of a sudden? Are the city offices so overburdened with requests they will use the money to hire someone for this purpose? I don't recall long lines trying to get in to those records. The City Council needs to look at other ways of operating for money and not off the backs of hard-working people of Cullman County or City. They do that already with tax increases. I would look at how much in tax abatements they give away and ask if this fee justifies their thoughts at this time. I wouldn't think so.

How about someone on your staff researching just how much tax abatement has been given by city leaders and one might find theres no real reason to ask for the fee. Maybe for the paper used for copying, but if the Cullman County Library can do it for 10 cents a copy why can't the city? Otherwise, are we now having to look at paying a salary for the ones already hired to do a clerical job? Our city government doesn't move that fast on requests for other things to be looked at or worked on. Next thing will be a fee for an e-mail with a copy of something that was scanned to be sent. Will it ever stop? Who's bright idea was it to consider the proposal? I would ask each council member to look hard at what was suggested over tax abatements.

Yeah, I know it gets businesses here so they can hire workers, but don't make the turnip bleed more than necessary. Thoughts from our city’s citizens will be welcomed and hopefully printed instead of political views by outside writers in the section where letters to the editor would go.

 Charles R. Kent