It's time for our city to pause and look at the overall spending picture in Ashland and not just continue to handle things here and there as they catch someone's attention, worthy though each may be on its own.




We need to take care of the things that have and will continue to make Ashland a great place to live and get our city back on a sound financial basis. Let's first pay serious attention to our infrastructure, which has been deteriorating in recent years. Then some of the nice-to-haves and worthy projects can be addressed.




Before continuing to spend as if we have a lot of extra money, we must eliminate the Ashland Fiber Network debt, which is not only a large financial burden, but also a source of much divisiveness in town. It costs more in annual interest payments alone than can be properly managed.




Here are many other things to consider when using 'windfall' money or considering future taxes for not-critical items:




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162; Operating money for our library.




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162; The Ashland Schools' needs dropped from bond proposals due to a shortfall of funds.




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162; The near-complete deterioration of the Darex Ice Skating Rink.




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162; Our deteriorating Daniel Meyer outdoor swimming pool.




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162; The voted-down but still needed Fire Station

2 expansion.




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162; Public safety needs such as the eliminated community police officer for our schools.




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162; Future water needs that may require activating the Medford intertie.




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162; The eliminated free/cheap city bus service, which most of us feel was a bad thing to do.




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162; No doubt other things have come to your mind that I missed here.




The 825 acres of land across I-5 was bought for one purpose, but was not used as the proposed sewage disposal field. If sold, for probably over $1 million, it could pay off some debt or be used as income of $50,000 to $60,000 annually versus the less than seven thousand dollars now received. Same for the Strawberry Lane land &

also of about $1 million value. More trails and more affordable housing are, of course, fine but should come after we get the city back on a sound financial footing. It currently is not.




No, we don't have to balance the budget, but we do need a well-thought-out budget and we need to stick to it.




is a 23-year Ashland resident who previously served on the City Budget Committee; he has a degree in economics from Santa Clara University.