Letter to the Editor: London levy
(Posted Sept. 25, 2012)
Although I am not a native daughter of Ohio or of the city of London, I have lived here for almost 18 years and have come to enjoy and appreciate living in a small, rural, relatively safe and family friendly environment.
Having been born and reared in New York City, I know what a difference it makes to be able to enjoy a simpler, quieter and saner lifestyle. I also know what happens to communities that do not receive the attention and support of their populace: rundown streets, crime, graffiti, drugs, apathy, loss of personal freedom.
Fortunately, today I can walk outside in the evening with the sounds of crickets and the wind whistling through the trees instead of the constant bombardment of ambient noise and chaos. I’m able to walk everywhere without an armor of self-protective paranoia. It is great to have folks wave a warm hello, to be on friendly terms with neighbors, walk or bike on a beautiful rails-to-trails path, enjoy a concert at the local library, enjoy a festival and swim in the summer at the local community pool and much more.
I realize that our little gem of a city may not have all the bells, whistles and resources larger metropolitan cities have. What it may lack in exhilaration, it more than makes up for in serenity, charm and character. But will it, can it, remain this way?
Preserving and improving on our composed way of life is not free. Although I am the last person who would advocate for paying more taxes, especially during this recessionary time, I do realize that if we want our city to maintain and grow its infrastructure, that it absolutely requires money. I also realize that our tax base is one of the lowest in central Ohio. Yet we expect or feel entitled to so much.
Our police officers need to be in full force. Our fire fighters need the resources to maintain a level of staff and equipment to keep our homes safe. City workers need to keep our streets sanitary and attractive. We need a vibrant recreational department to help keep our citizenry—young and not so young— strong, healthy and engaged. None of the services, we too often take for granted, can or will operate effectively without some sacrifice on our part.
Just like you and I, our city officials are trying to stretch dollars to keep afloat and have managed to do a commendable job with a limited cash flow. Now, with the downturn of our economy, a growing number of people are looking toward London, our county seat, for help on multiple levels—i.e., food, shelter, employment, cash assistance. This creates an even greater burden on our city safety forces, particularly fire and police. I believe that a reduction of city services could potentially produce a perilous situation for all of us who live here if we do not take decisive action.
The remedy, although an unpopular one, is quite simply, more money. After all, you get what you pay for. It may be the unpopular thing to say these days but I am voting for the tax levy that will help to maintain a good quality of life, as well as provide adequate protection when we all need it. I consider it a small sacrifice to make for a city that strives to be great and gives so much to all of us.