Budget add-ons are extravagant
The Budget Committee, in compliance with their powers and responsibilities, must align the wishes of Ashland City department managers with what the citizens are willing to pay for. They must embrace being respectful, even miserly, with "other peoples' money". It will take courage for the Committee to vote no on some of the add-ons which total $1.3 million.
Concurrent with the add-ons, the ongoing incremental utility rate increases have been very agressive. The recently approved nine and ten percent increased rates for electricity, water and sewer are not technically a tax, but an egregious monetary extraction nonetheless.
The most unproductive current proposed expenditures, in my estimation, are the "studies" such as$100,000 for yet another downtown study, $50,000 for a water-rate study, $30,000 for a street rate study, and $10,000 for a trails' master plan. It is not expedient to pay consultant fees because true insight into these tasks can best be accomplished, for free, by asking our "boots on the ground," highly paid City staff, as well as the people impacted, to submit their concepts. Computer wizzes on campus could co-ordinate the data for real-life class credit. Public meetings would follow.
I know Ashland residents have thoughts about other add-on expenditures. Citizens, come, express your views at the Budget Committee on Wednesday, May 22, at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers.