Monday, September 28, 2009

Considering the Common Good of Troy Michigan

Yesterday I posted a copy of an open letter to the Troy City Council, which I wrote for a group of local clergy. We hope that the Council Members read it, but we also hope that some of the local media will pick it up. I tried not to editorialize in that post, because I didn't want to add too much too what my colleagues had agreed to say.

But, now I'd like to say a few words about the local situation.

I understand that these are difficult economic times. People struggle with paying bills. But, even as we look at our own lives, we need to look outward, at the broader community and its needs. I must confess that while I don't enjoy paying taxes, I also don't understand the "cut taxes first, ask questions later." As best as I can tell, the city of Troy is in a financial crunch because it has boxed itself in with tax cuts and sill charter amendments that give it little room to maneuver.

We are a city of 80,000 people and we have a volunteer fire department. We have fine schools and parks, but no real downtown. The main drag is Big Beaver Road, but it is mostly corporate buildings and expensive restaurants. Oh, and 2 churches, one of which is mine, and both stand at the far west end of the street.

The community has a reputation for safety and services, and yet now we face the possibility of a loss of all of that -- for what? For a couple of hundred dollars a year, maybe less.

I agree completely with the sentiment provided by editorial writer Peter Mauer of the Troy-Somerset Gazette, who writes:

Years of budget wrangling and ultraconservatives who were more concerned with saving a few dozen dollars on their property tax bills than they were looking out for the welfare of the general population has forced Troy into the uncomfortable position of massive -- and I mean MASSIVE lay-offs and elimination of many public services - or - gulp! - having to raise taxes via a millage vote.


What we have here in Troy and elsewhere is a "penny-wise, pound foolish" attitude. But there comes a day when we will have to pay and pay dearly. When Troy becomes a place no one wants to move to, when houses sit vacant, and when the property values fall, then we'll all be in a mess.

My hope is that the City Council, tonight, will open its eyes and see what is really happening, and concern themselves with the common good of the whole community. May they have the courage to do what is right!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Only 2 comments on the last post. I fear we're cursing the wind.

Ya'll can move south to Clawson. We have vacancies too. David Mc