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The Azar Newsletter More City Problems (5-5-09)

May 5, 2009

Here we go again, more city cuts and financial problems (http:// Our city has been
run into the ground, financially and otherwise. There is even a move
to rob the hospitality fund to pay for basic services, meaning no
money for arts and tourism, the reason for the hospitality tax. It may
be illegal, but council is desperate and will do anything now,
especially since elections are in 11 months. They are so desperate
that they may try using some or all of the hospitality funds for the
general fund, rationalizing that whatever it is, it supports arts and

Of course, water, trash pickup, sewers, fire and police support arts
and tourism. If the commode does not flush down hill, I doubt many
could stand being in the concert hall with a stench floating through.
So maybe that will be the rationale? But council is trying to
eliminate commercial trash pick up now, making business pay an outside
hauler. Is this a good idea? Or is it that the city is effectively
bankrupt? Businesses pay a higher property tax and a yearly business
license tax (that is the hidden sales tax you pay as a business pays a
percentage of sales for this tax, just like the upfront sales tax you
do see), so have they not been paying their fair share?

What has happened to all our money? Where is any reserve fund? What
has our mayor and our council been doing with our taxes, fines, fees,
grants, loans, investments? Did it go to Airsouth? The trolleys?
Canalside? Lobbyists? Consultants? Studies? Multiple bill
overpayments? Bad investments? $100,000 city secretaries? Where is it?
Why cannot council tell us anything about our money for the past 4
years? Is someone dipping? Is money being let out to good old boys
behind the scenes?

WHAT IS GOING ON? Our city, the capital city, is the laughingstock of
South Carolina. No matter how anyone wants to argue my point whether
the city is bankrupt, it is quite obviously so. We can play the
semantics game, but when there is no money and bills have to be paid,
bills greater than income and cash flow, call it what you will, but
it is a VERY SERIOUS problem. We will see an exodus of more businesses
out of the city, and especially across the river where they can be
close, yet pay much less to operate. Our council will kill small and
mid-sized business, creating a greater burden on those left.

With the current administration, regardless of what they say, we will
never know. Unless we get a new administration that will uncover the
current one’s mysteries, nothing will change.

It is time for a wholesale change in how we operate our city, and that
will take new thinking, tough actions, and strong leadership. Read my
news release today, it is in the Google archives of The Azar
Newsletter (
browse_thread/thread/d63781d61c07d9a4#). Then join with me in my
campaign for mayor. Volunteer to help, and make a simple small
donation. I can always be reached via email at, and donations may be sent to Joseph Azar
for Mayor, 746 Harden St, Columbia, SC 29205.

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