Priorities, or You Can’t Always Get What You Want

But will we be able to get what we need without massive new taxes and fees?

Public Works has informed us that all of our utility bills will be growing in the near future in order to pay for needed infrastructure maintenance. That is unavoidable. The police and fire departments are underfunded and under staffed. Many of our streets, which were previously funded in part by the food and beverage tax, are falling apart. We are about to embark on two major, multimillion dollar reconstruction projects on Ashland St. and North Mountain. Personnel costs rise annually. Materials and services necessary to keep the city running also increase every year.

Meanwhile, the city budget faces a multimillion dollar budget shortfall which must be balanced by law. Faced with similar situations, Ashland’s two other major employers, SOU and OSF, are taking aggressive action to bring their budgets back into long term balance.

This is no time to be taking inadequate city revenues and committing them to things that we might like and want, but certainly don’t need: new parks capital improvement projects. What we NEED from parks and rec is to maintain what we already have. This measure, however, will inevitably provide money for new parks projects that this city cannot afford at this time. It will remove money that was earmarked for streets, money that will have to be found elsewhere, and dedicate it to APRC without restrictions.

During this time of financial crisis in our city, the council must not be limited in the approaches it can take to address the shortfalls. Rather than designating more money for parks and rec, the council should be taking steps to ensure that the money APRC is allocated is spent efficiently and appropriately on maintenance and operations, not new projects.

Don’t allow misguided, special interest city budgeting to ruin YOUR personal budget.

It’s YOUR money.

Vote NO on 15-214!

Dean Silver