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Letter to the Editor

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Letter to the Editor:

When I was a young man, I came across a quote that literally changed my life. It was penned by the English Playwright, Charles Kettering, who said; “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” It hit me right between the eyes. Our lives are not entirely about the moment. We must all build for the future. It is never enough that we live only for ourselves. We have also to live for those who come after us.

We have an opportunity to serve the future of our community this Tuesday. It is extremely important that we band together as residents and vote YES on the penny sales tax proposal before us.  This is our town. Every one of us who live in it benefit greatly from our city. In fact, we receive more benefits from our local municipality than from all other levels of government combined. Everything we do is tied to the services we receive from it. Imagine having to treat our own water, dispose of our own trash, eliminate our own sewage, drive on dirt paths, fight our own fires, defend our own property, enforce our own rights, buy or own books, bury our own dead. The list of privileges we enjoy together as residents of our special place is long. And we take almost all of them for granted.

It is important for all of us to understand that all of these services are expensive. Every one of them must work for us every day, year end and year out. It takes a lot of man and woman power to maintain our city. It requires a lot of highly trained professionals. It necessitates millions of dollars of equipment that gets old, wears out, and must constantly be replaced.

It is also important we understand that there are only two primary sources of revenue for any city– sales taxes and utility fees. These two alone fund nearly 2/3rds of all the services we receive. We simply can’t continue to have what we have without either raising our sales tax a penny or doubling our current water, sewer and trash fees. To me, it is an easy choice. Much of the sales tax collected by our retail stores come from folk who don’t even live in Guthrie. Because of the unique historical place that we are, we attract a lot of travelers. Every one of them subsidizes a portion of our responsibility when they visit our town. And they don’t notice or care how much sales tax they pay. It is purely a scare tactic to make anyone believe otherwise.

We shouldn’t be intimidated by the few naysayers who seem to always come out of the woodwork to oppose progress.  They lead us to believe they know more than anyone else. They always offer solutions. But their solutions never stand an economic test of validity. They are always woefully short-sided, like trying to make an elephant out of a gnat. They offer drop in the bucket solutions to real world problems. When our city has identified over $16 million of capital improvements that are needed now, notions of creating a few dollars here and there become nonsensical

As a member of a citizens committee appointed to represent you in matters of municipal fees, I urge you to follow your own guide and do what is right in your heart. Your vote in favor of adding another penny to our city’s revenue stream is simply meeting your responsibility as a resident of Guthrie. It is as much your town as it is your neighbors. Its ability to serve you now depends on you. Its future depends on all of us.

Robert Davis          

Categories: Column, Uncategorized
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