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“I wish I could have voted…”



Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

Every four years the same conversation comes up – “I wish I could have voted…” I’ve lost count of the number of times people said “I wish I could have voted…” over the last 24 hours. It was mostly people in the county who wanted to vote in the municipal elections for Mayor and Alderman. Folks in the county are almost never happy with the city and endlessly talk about the problems in the city. They have all the solutions and are certain we are on a path of gloom and doom, thus their strong desire to fix it for those poor city residents who, obviously, don’t know any better.

Here is the fix – If you want to vote for the Mayor and Alderman then move to the city and pay city taxes.

When it is all said and done, city voters are deciding who they want to manage their tax dollars that go into the city. Currently, that is about $31 million a year.

If you want to vote in the city without moving to the city, then you’ll have to get together with your friends who also want to vote in the city and have the city annex you or somehow join the city and county into one government. That idea has been around for a long time – since at least the 1950s according to one friend of mine. The benefit of combining city and county, beyond your ability to vote in those elections, is that the combined tax dollars would create a larger pool of money to fix things, or so it appears. Some departments would be able to combine efforts. But, in reality, the distant parts of the county will still need fire and police protection and running sewer and water lines to a single house way out there is expensive. The cost of getting the whole county up to snuff with proper water and sewer, sidewalks and all that stuff is insanely expensive. It is cost-prohibitive in the short run.

On the other hand, expensive projects are part of what a government is there to provide. A fire department, for example, is a damn good idea if you have a bunch of buildings near each other that are occupied by people. Eventually, one of those people is going to hook up an electrical wire the wrong way, drop something hot or leave something cooking on the stove too long and one of those buildings is going to catch fire. Putting it out is no fun without the right equipment and training. Thus the need for a well-equipped, well-trained group of heroes to put that fire out and save all your stuff from burning up.

But all that is expensive. That new fire truck the city bought last year cost somewhere around $750,000. That’s a lot for a private citizen who wants to go into the putting-out-fires business. Then you’ve got to have a place to store it, maintain it and then you’ll have to pay people who know how to operate all those hoses and levers and sirens. It is a daunting task and the exact reason we pay taxes and then choose who we want to manage those taxes. In this case, we just chose the Mayor and Aldermen that you may or may not like to oversee that $31 million collective tax account.

So, if you want to vote you must move into the area and pay your fair share of taxes.

If you’re not up for a move, then you may wish to read up on the health benefits related to the peace and quiet that come from not getting worked up over things over which you have no control. Smiley face.

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