To the editor:
For the last six years, the city has been so enamored with amenities, artwork, traffic-calming devices and other projects that have brought no new businesses to town, but have steadily drained off the "reserve fund." It has repeatedly failed to listen to the voices who asked if it could really afford these things and ignored its duty to its citizens to care for the city's infrastructure and be fiscally responsible.
Now it is faced with only two directions that it can go. The hard truth that the city still tries to avoid is that either the city raises more revenue, or it drastically reduces the services it renders. There is no good solution. If it raises property tax levies, then both downtown businesses and homeowners are hurt. If it raises sales tax rates, all consumers in Lawrence are hurt. Plans to raise all of our user fees and water rates will also take a bite out of everyone living and working in Lawrence.
Cutting the maintenance budget for city streets only defers the pain until later and does nothing to reduce the number of streets in dire need of replacement. The city should settle on a "bare bones" budget and concentrate to the core health, safety, and infrastructure needs of the city. Amenities like Eagle Bend and the T and other frivolous spending will have to wait.
Even a sparse budget will still need additional revenue to accomplish, but it may be less painful to those taxpayers still in Lawrence and may not frighten potential business investors away.