I prepared a lengthy response to your recent editorial commentary on the proposed City of Cottonwood budget, and in particular your remarks concerning citizen’s inability to connect the dots in the budget to smear the Thunder Valley Rally, and the so-called “disparaging” remarks about the City of Cottonwood, all based on my previous letter to you. Following is a summary of those thoughts.
First, I am personally a big fan and cheerleader for the City of Cottonwood and its government, particularly for its excellent staff, but not so much some recent actions by the City Council. I have served faithfully and proudly on the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission for seven years.
Second, although not a particular fan of Thunder Valley, I am fully aware of the economic benefit and exposure such events provide to the City to many diverse groups. I approve of the City’s support and approval of such events, just not to the upfront financial support to the tune of $150,000, particularly in this time of cost costing to essential city departments.
Third, The City Council is our elected representatives and are the final and only authority over the approval of the annual City budget and for every expenditure in said budget; not the City Manager or Police Chief, who have input and expert advice.
In these “tight times,” the city council must prioritize every expenditure, weigh it against all other requested expenditures, and make some tough decisions. Taking the easy way out of across-the-board 3-percent cuts for all departments so they can afford to spend $150,000 on Thunder Valley Rally is the wrong way.
Sorry, there is a very direct connect between every individual expenditure in the City budget. If it is true we can’t hire new police officers, increasing their budget by $150,000 for salary increases, instead of reducing their budget by 3 percent, might just help to fill those positions. And, where is the City Manager magically going to come up later with $154,000 to fill those un-budgeted, vacant positions in these tight times?
Lastly, it is our constitutional right, and in my opinion our duty as taxpaying citizens of Cottonwood to publicly express our thoughts and opinions on the actions of our duly elected government representatives, and to cast our ballots every two years for new City Council candidates. If the majority of citizens voting agree to maintain the status quo, so be it. It is the American way. When does expression of such personal opinion become “disparaging”? This is encouraging dialog, of all viewpoints, on our City Government, which is my view is a very healthy thing. Expressing opinion is not the exclusive right of the news media.