An editorial by Jennifer Sierra
The answer is most people aren’t happy. Many citizens are saying, “Why isn’t the city buying a new fire truck instead of buying Red Bike Stations? Why are we putting money into a new river walk when we have children starving here? Why are we putting money into a park when we need streets paved? Why are they raising our taxes again?”
Politicians can’t please all of the people all of the time. If a politician sits in office long enough, he makes plenty of enemies. Citizens often act like spoiled children. Instead of compromise, they get mad if they don’t get their way. If a politician gets an entire group of people mad, say a union, a religious group or fire or police department, well they have just committed political suicide. We elect our politicians expecting them to make us happy with their decisions and influence. Citizens may not realize what their job is and what the politicians really need to do to represent all of us the best way possible.
It is not the job of an elected official to just show up at meetings and vote on issues. Their job is to listen to their constituents (the citizens they represent) and vote according to their wishes. It is the job of the elected officials to do research on issues and recommend the best way to approach issues before they vote on them. It is the job of a politician to go to other communities and get ideas on how to improve our communities. Elected officials are also responsible for going to higher government and opposing government agencies to get support for the issues the community supports and to campaign for grants to help the community’s causes.
It is our job as voters to look at the issues that affect our communities and decide if that politician represents our wishes and interests in the community. If you have a mind of your own, there is no way we can agree with any politician 100% of the time. You should agree with the person you elect most of the time, however. It is unreasonable to expect there will be a person you are 100% on board with. A politician should run to selflessly serve his or her community, not to serve his or her own special interests and ego. Look for someone that wants the best for their community and actually follows up with actions not just shows up to vote on issues. Look for people that consistently show up to support all of their local community activities not just during election season but all the time.
There have been many comments on some of our recent stories about how tax money is being spent on things like the Red Bike Program, the river walk or the fire truck. These recent developments in our communities are a result of grant money applied for on behalf of the cities of Dayton and Bellevue, Kentucky. There was no other way that money could have been used. The cities could not have applied for a grant for the river walk then bought a fire engine with it. They could not have been awarded a grant for the Red Bike program and then used it to pave the streets. The fire department applied for a grant for the hiring of new firemen. This grant, called the Safer Grant, cannot be used to get new street lights or hire new public works personnel.These grants were awarded for specific programs. If the funds don’t get used for that specific issue, another city will get awarded the money and the next time the city asks for a grant, they might not get it because they abused the system. The city would also have to repay the money if it was not spent on the program in which they applied for the grant.
Simply put, if we don’t apply for these grants, we lose out on money for things the cities need. Our cities need alternative forms of transportation to help the growing population have different modes of getting around so traffic isn’t so bad. Our cities invested in Red Bike and a river walk and used the grant money for these alternative forms of transportation. Our fire department is one of the busiest in Northern Kentucky. The fire department applied for a grant to hire more employees which there is a real need for. The fire department will find out within a few months if they have been awarded the grant or not.
It is unfair to expect your city council members to vote on a grant program the city could be awarded and then expect them to be able to spend that grant money elsewhere. It is part of their job to go out and find alternative ways to fund community improvements. Is your representative doing that or are they just showing up to vote “no” on programs they don’t understand?
It is also unfair to complain about taxes being raised when the cost of living and doing business keeps going up. The city is a business and in order for them to pay for things like fire trucks, the price of which goes up every year, they need to raise taxes. Not one person I know likes paying taxes and the more money you make, the more the government takes. But if the money is spent well and responsibly, everyone benefits and we end up living in a better community.