Letter to the editor: Tighten our belt
To the editor:
I’m writing to congratulate four city commissioners (Jennifer Ananda, Stuart Boley, Brad Finkeldei and Courthey Shipley) on the new swimming pools they’re installing at their homes. Despite the current economic crisis, they apparently feel comfortable moving forward with expenditures that most residents would consider “nonessential.”
Of course, I’m being facetious. They aren’t actually installing new swimming pools at their homes. However, I was alarmed to read that these four commissioners voted to approve $329,700 for a “downsized bike boulevard” along 21st Street. Thankfully, Commissioner Lisa Larsen had the good sense to vote no, saying “I don’t know if now is the right time.” She’s absolutely right. Now is not the right time, for this or any other expenditure that is not absolutely essential (e.g., police, fire, EMTs, etc.).
Our local, state and national economies are facing perhaps the biggest crisis of our lifetimes. Many people are unemployed. Hundreds of local businesses are temporarily closed, and many may never reopen. Tax revenues are projected to plummet in the coming months, yet our City Commission approved $329,700 for a bike boulevard. This is real money that will likely be needed to cover budget shortfalls when tax revenues drop.
The time for serious action is now.Commissioners, you ca not “fix” the tax revenue reductions with future tax mill increases. Lawrence residents cannot (and shouldn’t have to) pay more. You need to start tightening your belts and making tough choices now, just like most households are doing.