Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Think Local, Vote Local

Lots of people spend a great deal of time and energy getting revved up over national political races that won't even happen for another year, but I think voting in local elections is just as important. I mean, that's where you choose the people to run your school board and your city infrastructure-- things which may impact your daily life much more than some national issues.
Municipal elections were held here yesterday. The big issue was an amendment to adopt a a tax cap that would limit increases in spending based on the Consumer Price Index and the value of the previous year's new construction and demolition permits. While everyone agrees the city needs to get its spending under control, opponents pointed out that the tax cap could foreseeably lead to cuts in school budgets, road maintenance, street lights and other things most people consider necessities. I thought about it and decided I was voting against the tax cap and then made my choices for mayor and city councilors based on where they stood on the tax cap issue. I'm afraid the cap might end up resulting in more new construction permits being issued in order to raise revenue to the result that the town will become over-developed and less attractive as a place to live.
Apparently other people in town don't see it that way because the tax cap amendment was passed and the current mayor was re-elected to office even though he chose not to take a position on the issue and his most serious challenger was clearly supportive of the cap. It seems like most wards voted for Councilors who supported the tax cap, so maybe people just like Myers as a mayor and his declining to take a stand on the tax cap issue was neutral enough to please everyone. I understand that people don't want to see any more increases in their property taxes, but I hope the school system doesn't suffer because of it.

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