The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


February 28, 2014

Focus on the future, not on individual needs


How are we going to get people to live in Clinton, and the area, with high fees? It’s one thing to bring in development and have places to work. It’s another to convince families to live here.

Lowering tax rates is one way…but at what cost?

Clinton Public Library Director Amy Birtell has a tough job. She’s felt the brunt of cuts since she came to Clinton in 2011.

Her department experienced the biggest cut of all during the most recent budget discussions, with a $40,783 reduction.

It’s easy to cut funds from the library. Do City Council members use the library? Are there picketers ready to storm City Hall? How many phone calls will be patched through to city officials if the library endures a hefty cut from its budget?

The line of complainers will be less if things like the library take the cut. But we can’t keep cutting things like the library if we want the area’s future to be bright.

The library functions as a means for low-income individuals to have an opportunity to experience technology and possibly receive more education.

It also acts as a quality-of-life function, something the city is in dire need to promote. If we want people to live in this area, we need things to do. We need our swimming pool to be open. We need our parks and riverfront to be welcoming. And we need a library to offer people an opportunity to meet with other adults, teenagers, children and parents in a learning environment.

Ask a teenager or even an adult what there is to do in this town. Your answer will likely be, “nothing.” Is that true? No. But it will be if we want to only focus on saving a few departments and only cutting back on others. The perception of “nothing to do” will become a reality if that continues.

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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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