To the editor:
The city is overlooking some real alternatives in their current discussion of the Rock Chalk Park recreation facility. First off, the $25 million recreation project is supposedly possible without any tax increase since a number of projects’ bonds payments are ending. This sizeable lump of money can be used several ways. One is cutting taxes by lowering the sales or property taxes. Another is putting the excess dollars to work on our urgent infrastructure problems.
Water mains are increasingly bursting around the city and need replacement. (I saw three incidents of such in December.) This multimillion dollar undertaking needs to be addressed now before it becomes even more expensive. A $40 million police department request was deferred by the City Commission. Work on an added sewer water treatment facility is needed if the town wants to expand in the future. Some major traffic arteries and feeder streets definitely need to be upgraded soon. Other basic services need attention.
Using excess tax collections for a temporary tax cut now or spending these valuable “idle” tax dollars on a vastly expanded exercise facility while deferring the more pressing infrastructure problems? I believe that the citizenry would support the alternatives that I have outlined: tax cuts or improving the city’s needed infrastructure now.
The Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods has endorsed putting the question to a vote by the public. Why not do so — with the discussed alternatives? That would be a real act of statesmanship on the part of the city commissioners.