Until the last election, I think I had never voted against funding local services in my life. I believe that we need to pay for the services we use. Americans too often whine and complain about taxes, but then are left with dysfunctional public services which often cost all of us more in the end, anyway, and also tend to hit poor people hardest.
However, in the last election, I voted against the local property tax hike (Issue 21 on last November's ballot, which ultimately passed by just one vote) because, although I understood that the increased funds were needed, the Council was not clear about their priorities; I felt that vital human services, like the pool, were being essentially held for ransom in order to pressure the townspeople into accepting an agenda that did not have wide support or understanding in the village. The process was deeply flawed--pleas from villagers to work on creative ways to fund the pool for one or two weeks longer that summer were repeatedly ignored and stonily passed over. This made many of us very distrustful of the Council and their motives and values. I'm concerned that while we have thousands of square yards of new asphalt all over town, which is all well and good, the pool's future and accessibility has not been fully attended to, as a letter from a concerned resident in this week's YSNEWS suggested.
So let me be clear: I support the pool. When my children were living at home, we had a family membership that we regularly used. When people come to town to visit, especially my sister from Minnesota, with her small children, if it's a hot summer day, we often end up at the pool. I love watching the fire works from Gaunt Park. Go to the pool on a hot summer day, and you'll see families with young children, having a ball. It's a jam-packed, multigenerational, happening scene.
The public pool is a tremendous resource in our town, in an era when so many towns have lost their pools. If we want this town to grow, especially in terms of its younger population, so vital to our schools and our future, we must support services like the pool that reach out to them and make this village a vital and attractive location.
Human services will be a priority for my work on council.