Cleveland City Council approves budget, keeps same $1.49 per 100 dollars of assessed property tax value but increases water rates by 6 % and waste water rates by 5 percent. At large Councilman George Poe and 1st District Councilman Charlie McKenzie voted against the measure and voted on principal and said they couldnt vote for it because it contained the increases. Stand and commend these two as they know it is tough living in a down economy, in a recession and the local government rasing rates at every turn to balance the budget. Vice Mayor Avery said he liked the list of projects in the new budget and went on to say we need to further fund that list with a 3.5% property tax increase and still have the lowest property rate (among cities with a k-12 school system) he went on to say “I dont see an issue.” Well of course you do not see an issue with a hefty tax increase Mr. Vice Mayor! You may be so far removed and disconnected from your constituency. The people you represent feel that it is a big, huge issue and you as an elected leader should not use every opportunity to raise taxes. I told you that you would hear the “we are the lowest taxed city among systems with k-12″ Our elected officials use this repeatedly with every time they are looking to raise your taxes. My opinion is that if you keep raising the taxes we will no longer be the lowest, then we replace those that raise our taxes at the ballot box, does that message resonate Mr Vice Mayor? When Council members asked City Manager Janice Casteel about why the water rates and Cleveland Utilities needed rate increases Mrs Casteel replied ” I CANNOT ANSWER THAT QUESTION, ASK CU GENERAL MANAGER TOM WHEELER! Are you kidding me? We are raising the water and waste 6 and 5% respectively and you dont know why we are rasising the rates. I know why you are and it is a sad statement but it is because somebody told you we needed too. The reason according to Tom Wheeler is because we need a third waterline for Growth! Like in the BCC Strategic Growth Plan? Tom Wheeler said that also we need this increase because of ” pharmaceuticals and other foreign contents in our water supply” Im sure that is referring to another “green water study” that came out recently based on bogus science. CU Accounting Manager Ken Webb said “CU is an enterprise fund and that by law must show a positive net income.” Really, Mr Webb you have answered why we must raise rates and I see your motivation clearly. Scratched from the budget before approval was $ 30, 000.00 to purchase a used lawnmower to mow the golf courses and $100,000.00 for a dump truck, left in the budget was $ 110,000.00 for playground equipment for Tinsley Park (we do it for the Kids, remember?) Near the end of the meeting the Estses proposed that Bradley County and the City work together to fund the $ 3,000,000.00 to fund an industrial park! Come on guys, why dont we seek a remedy for the runaway spending and the endless burden you are placing on the citizens of Bradley County. We need a little relief and it dont sound like we are going to get any.