In the Editorial earlier this week, the Editor made some comments about City Councilman and current Mayor, Patrick Jones…and this is my reply:
As I read your editorial “Million Dollar Lanterns” a couple of points became clear to me. At the risk of not endorsing one candidate or another, the fact the Patrick Jones is asking the “hard questions” as a current city council member is admirable. And, even though the circumstances for the funding of the Lanterns may not be exactly as was stated by Mr. Jones, the fact of the matter is the City has had been involved in some rather extensive funding of similar projects over the past few years, and these expenditures are seldom questioned by Council. If the staff wants to spend it, it is approved, has been the impression, right or wrong. From man hole covers to Hilltop palm trees, as income from fees and taxes flowed in, it was spent. Like the federal government, if you do not spend what is given to you in a fiscal year, next year that agency will get less to spend.
Things are going to have to change, if we are going to survive in tough economic times, and we have a few years left. Property taxes will be going down, thanks to Prop 13 and follow on Prop 8. Fact. Income to the county will be less, and the flow down income to the City will be less. Fact. If income is not there, expenses will have to be cut. Fact. And, the City Council, whomever it is, is going to be facing this reduction in expenses head on. Some things will have to go…and hopefully it will not be jobs. But streets need to be fixed; the Redding infrastructure is getting old and repairs will have to be made; and the increasing pensions already approved will have to be paid…so how can we even spend a relatively little on “Lanterns” when these hard decisions on funding for the basics of our city government responsibilities must be made.
So, I commend Mr. Jones for making his opinion heard, and I challenge the incoming City Council to heed the warning…the revenue that we have had for a number of years will not be there in the next few years, so look long and hard at the “future lanterns” that will proposed for our beautiful city. Can we afford it…the never ending question?