Thu, Dec. 05

Food tax essential for Cottonwood’s future<br><br>

It is also common for property assessors to under-evaluate higher-priced property more than they do lower-priced property, thus increasing regressivity.

Are those really the alternatives you propose, Mr. Bond? Are we to repeal a regressive tax so that another regressive taxes can be increased or levied? That can’t be the solution, because just as a dollar is a dollar, a "regressive" tax is a "regressive" tax.

The suggestion has been made that one glance at our city’s administrative salaries would reveal "waste in government," and that money could be saved if city employee salaries were cut.

I simply cannot agree. It is not waste to effectively administer a police department for our safety and security. It is not waste to ensure that our fire and paramedic personnel are sufficiently staffed to care for us in the event of an emergency. It is not waste to develop and maintain programs to repair streets, revitalize old town and build parks and fund library programs for our children’s recreation.

As the eight of 11 children, of a father who worked as a city employee for over 30 years, I personally know that city employees don’t live all that lavishly.

And, by the way, city employment is just that – employment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could persuade competent, qualified and honest people to volunteer as full-time government employees to run our city government without any taxation?

Some will argue that some of them practically do. When I walk through the offices at City Hall, I have an even grater respect for the city employees who work to govern our city in an old, less-than-modern looking facility. It is more than obvious that our city employees are not spending their days trying to decide what to do with all their extra income. In fact, a number of city employees and officials spend countless, unpaid hours promoting and serving our community, outside of their capacities as city officials.

Perhaps this is the alternative. Proponents for the food tax repeal, I ask you, "Are you willing to volunteer your personal time to cooperatively manage the city in a full-time capacity?" Although I don’t doubt that many of you would if you could, the fact is that it cannot be done.

Instead, we need to invest in the community that we have and strive to make it better. Citizens For Cottonwood’s Future was formed for that very reason. We live in a community that is as good as we make it. The money generated from the food tax funds programs that serve, protect, nourish and define us. That is why Citizens For Cottonwood’s Future is supported by people who care about the investment in our community, more than they do about saving the $2-$5 per month they personally pay in tax on food. Some of these people include:

• Matias Sandoval and Donna Piper, who volunteer as members of the board of directors for the Cottonwood Boys & Girls Club;

• Jim Wixom and Frank Vocca, who oversee administration of the Verde Valley Little League for our youth;

• Terry Larabell, President of the Bookmarks, Friends of the Cottonwood Library, which is a group of volunteers who give their personal time to serve patrons of the library;

• Mike Warren, who donates his personal time and efforts to develop Riverfront Park and has served as a councilman for the city for years;

• Steve Rose, chairman of the Old Town Association, which focuses on restoring our city;

• Mike Vespoli, director of Community Services for United Food & Commercial Workers ("UFCW Local 99"), which represents employees at Cottonwood’s Safeway and Fry’s Food Stores;

• Pete Sesow and Gary Wasson, who dedicate much of their time to developing an association of Cottonwood business owners in Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce;

• Mayor Ruben Jauregui, who fully supports our efforts as a Cottonwood citizen and voter;

• And many more people like Chuck and Wendi Lounsbury, Pat Spence, Steve Dockray, Jim Ledbetter, Scott Miskiel, Judy Paulus, Michael Durgain, Mike and Debbie Casson, former mayor Linda Hobson, Mark Hobson, Roy McCracken, Jerry and Kathy Barker, Mike Baker, Philip Terbell, Matt Fabritz, and many, many more people, clubs and fraternities interested in maintaining our city services without cutting personnel, and without raising taxes.

We elect and place our trust in city officials to govern us. Our city council has implemented an fair and simple way for Cottonwood residents to pay a nominal tax on food and leverage our sales tax dollars with even greater revenues generated by non-resident patrons to fund and provide vital city services.

This is the most sensible option. There simply isn’t’ a better alternative, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Let’s keep city services without raising taxes. Vote "No" on Proposition 200.

Cottonwood resident Mark Lines is the chairman of Citizens for Cottonwood’s Future.

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