Consider the Budget
As former chairs of Ashland’s Citizens Budget Committee, we offer a simple, but compelling reason for voting NO on Ballot Measure 15-214, Food and Beverage Tax – Give the City Council flexibility in allocating all the revenue from the various city taxes.
Only the mayor and the Council, with the advice of the Budget Committee, have responsibility for assessing the full needs of the city residents. Juggling budget requests of all city departments is not an easy job any year and it’s getting harder.
Giving one department an advantage with dedicated food and beverage tax income is not fair to all the others.
For the past 25 years, most food and beverage tax revenue went to paying off bonds issued to fund the construction of a new sewage treatment plant. After the last bond payments were made voters approved extending the tax to 2030 and dedicating the income to street repairs and parks.
This ballot referendum would extend the tax to 2040 with all the revenue, except for a two percent administrative fee, going to the Parks and Recreation.
But, why continue to restrict use of this tax revenue to a specific department or specific city function? It’s not necessary and it needlessly ties the hands of the Council.
We elected the mayor and six councilors to oversee our city government and to approve a balanced city budget as required by state law. We should have faith in their ability, with the advice of the Budget Committee, to allocate all the resources available for police, fire and rescue, street repairs, parks and recreation, community development, tourism promotion and other services.
Have confidence that the Council will fund all departments fairly allocating all available tax and fee revenues. VOTE NO on this ballot referendum, a necessary step in getting the city’s fiscal house in order.