Letter to the Editor: Double-talk
BY Dennis Gronquist, Stillwater
Monday, October 01, 2012
10/01/12 at 2:55 AM
The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals opinion written by Judge Jane P. Wiseman in case No. 109,101, gives the appearance that it sanctions the use of legalese double-talk to deceive the citizens. At the heart of this case are two documents, the Stillwater Utilities Authority public trust indenture and the Stillwater Ordinance No. 1835, which in 1979 authorized a third penny of sales tax obviously intended for use in SUA infrastructure. Both documents demand that this third cent be restricted funds that cannot be used in any way as general funds. That is what was sold to the voters.
However, both documents include general fund issues of "operations and maintenance" as valid uses of the money. Thus, the funds are not restricted and are now used for anything.
I find it disturbing that municipal governments are allowed by the state judicial system to deceive the citizens in such a manner. Nearly $60 million of these restricted funds have gone into general-fund accounts to artificially inflate the revenue of the rate payers so excess funds can be returned to the city for excessive and overpaid city staff, while they charge double on some utility rates to do what that money was originally intended for.
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