Police on the layaway plan

How does an Ashland taxpayer explain to his or her children that you shouldn’t pay for what you can’t afford when our local government is doing just that? From paying a consultant more than $200,000 for a 100-year park plan to committing to hiring five additional police officers when the money hasn’t even been allocated, the Ashland leadership is treating tax dollars like a credit card with no limits.

The Tidings reports on backtracking from Parks and Recreation Director Michael Black on the Senior Center that will, surprise, potentially cost an additional $100,000. If only we had put, say, $200,000 aside for near-term spending priorities instead of thinking 100 years down the road with outside consulting fees.

I would like our city to communicate to the taxpayers exactly how much it has stored away in its rainy day fund. Doing so will show a level of maturity in our leadership regarding the Ashland budget and also send a message to future potential new hires, such as our police officers, that we are committing to them for the long term.

The fact is, all booming economies will eventually cease to boom. And credit card bills will come due. It would be nice to see our mayor and City Council exercise the same due diligence in spending that we expect of ourselves and our children.

John Yunker