But in her four years on the council, she picked up on sentiment that was building against the three-term incumbent, John Stein, who pushed for the 2 percent sales tax to pay for road, sewer and water upgrades. These investments laid the way for the city's growth, but they also unnerved some residents.Once in office, Palin hired
"People said, 'What are you doing to my city? I liked it better when we didn't have government,' '' said Richard Deuser, the city attorney at the time. "And Sarah really pandered to that resentment, that resistance to change. Sarah became their person."
She also scaled back her own less than formidable executive duties:
The universe of the mayor of Wasilla is sharply circumscribed even by the standards of small towns, which limited Palin's exposure to issues such as health care, social services, the environment and education.What Palin did as Mayor was oversee the Police Department created by the previous Mayor and her formal rival for the job, John "his name sounds Jewish" Stein. In this capacity, she fired the guy Stein hired and replaced him with Charlie "I disagree with a bill that prevents me from charging victims for rape kits" Fannon. Palin was also was responsible for the public works department, parks and recreation, a planning office, the library from which she tried to fire the librarian for not being open to book banning and a history museum which caused her headaches. The bulk of the day-to-day running of the city was done by a professional administrator that Palin hired to do the job due to a threat of a recall campaign.
Firefighting and schools, two of the main elements of local governance, are handled by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the regional government for a huge swath of central Alaska. The state has jurisdiction over social services and environmental regulations such as stormwater management for building projects.
As for her being against the tax & spend mentality, her actions show that she is far from the fiscally responsible conservative she claims to be when running for office.
During her six years as mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same six years, the amount of taxes collected by the city increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax, which even taxed food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.Yes, with the cronyism, vendettas, secrecy and fiscal irresponsibility, Sarah Palin has proven herself to be a chip of the old BushCo block - but don't ask her about it, that would be sexist.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though. Borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? Or a new library? No. $1 million for a park. $15 million-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex, which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the city didn't even have clear title to. That was still in litigation seven years later -- to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5 million for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 years without any borrowing. Wasilla Resident, Ann Kilkenny
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