The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

February 28, 2014

Focus on the future, not on individual needs

Some day in the future, I would like to think this time of year will include a bit more positivity.

For the last few years, budget planning for the next fiscal year in the Gateway area hasn’t generated the pats on the back or the warm feelings that most cities strive to see.

The Clinton School District is cutting positions, the city of Clinton is ceasing operations at the Lyons branch of the Clinton Public Library and Camanche officials are using reserve funds to piece together a final budget that featured a $110,000 deficit.

With a steadily decreasing population and an aging demographic, area leaders are searching for answers on how to reverse the trends from the past decades.

Budget discussions are not for the faint of heart. These decisions affect everyone, not just the employees that may see pay decreases, increased workloads or lose jobs.

To make sure our area is prepared for the future, the decision-makers, department heads and residents should have a common goal. We should all be concerned with making this area the best it can be, and not focus on what’s best for each individual’s interests.

City of Clinton residents received a cut in property taxes after some City Council members were determined to reduce fees. New council members cited voters’ displeasure with rising fees, so they cut the average tax-asking by an average of $13.27 per year for citizens.

Some have scoffed at that savings as miniscule. But residents are ready for a change. Clinton residents pay high taxes. Whether it’s on our property, sewers or water (which isn’t levied by the city of Clinton), we have to pay high prices.

Most residents will take any cut they can get.

Just ask Clinton School District Superintendent Deb Olson about the decreasing population in Clinton. The district’s enrollment has dwindled during the years, directly affecting how much money the district receives. There are a few factors for declining enrollment, but a major factor is the lack of student-age children.

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Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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