I appreciated the time Mayor Carrie Tergin afforded us last week at the Tribune's coffee. I did offer a positive feedback with respect to our police and fire departments and to the snow removal efforts — not so — of the Park Department's management and fiscal accountability. I also voiced my approval of expansion of the National Cemetery by relocating Miller Street Park (I suggested this solution in May 2018).
The "coffee" offered much discussion of the tornado and prison development. On those two issues, recovery time is the main issue. Residents need time to get lives back in order, and to get financing or aid in place. Commercial and rental properties should be afforded lesser leniency. The city should not spend taxes to correct deficiencies. Regarding the prison, the city should only spend taxes on bona fide city services — such as streets, drainage and sewers and management. All other development should be by private funding, and the state should shed ownership as much as possible to this surplus tax burden.
I voiced my opinion that the Parks Department was fiscally and managerially out-of-control, not in tune with the overall public needs and wants and is spending out of proportion with respect to fairness to all parts of the city. I also interjected that the borrowing of construction funds was an atrocious decision that needs to be reversed — a position the News Tribune concurred with in a recent editorial. I suggested the city further rein in parks by expanded April changes to the charter and by expanding responsibilities more closely supervised by the City Council.
Additional discussion: How could the city could grow, attract more business and be either a destination or draw to development? Is there an inequity of tax base and appraisals with respect to commercial properties? I offered no input of these two issues, but Jefferson City can only be so much — a seat of the state government, a partnership with Lincoln University and others, and an opportunity to encourage growth — is plenty. I believe to take care of what you have to the fullest is better than chasing a dream unfulfilled. I do believe that Jefferson City's shift in demographics and social makeup of families, and reliance more and more on government and our taxes has a large negative effect and inhibits city growth and viability.