To the editor:
Shame on Lawrence. For a city that fancies itself as "cutting edge" politically, 14 percent voter turnout is beyond pathetic. It's disgraceful.
The news on the city's fiscal state is not positive. A business leaves town for a neighbor where it can expand at a more competitive cost. Sales tax revenues have been steadily and substantially eroded by outlying communities. The stagnant housing market is severely stressing the property tax revenues we expect to collect. Our user fees (taxes) have been raised to the maximum. Public projects are experiencing significant cost increases (26 percent) and any future public works project, whether a new library or road repair/replacement, will be similar. Because this is where the city gets its money, our tax base is stretched to the limit.
Six years have brought few new employment opportunities and have clearly defined our community as, at best, difficult to work with and/or blatantly unreceptive to business or industry. In the past 12 months, at least 15 businesses closed their doors. The city pursues new expenditures with little regard for the upkeep and maintenance costs of its existing facilities. To keep even, we have little other choice but to raise taxes.
If you don't mind seeing the city dip into your wallet every Tuesday, then "stay the course." Others of us believe it's "time for a change" in the City Commission and the axially commissions/advisory boards. Regardless, your failure to vote means you accept the consequences.