Why not try lending a hand?

It is budget time again, and soon enough it will be tax time. If you don’t like your tax bill when it comes in the mail, remember that you had a chance to tell the city and county about it while they were making budget decisions.

There are a few things we could do to help keep the mill levies at acceptable — or perhaps even lower — levels in the future. You have heard me say most of this before, but guess what? I am going to say it again.

Do not blow your lawn clippings into the street where the next rain will wash them into the storm drains. Gully washers like those we experienced in the past week can quickly overwhelm a plugged storm drain system and contribute to flooding in our community.

After such events, asphalt and gravel need to be replaced, drain grates need to be cleaned by city crews before the next water crisis, and often storm water has pushed its way into places it should never go, and repairs are needed. All of this because the drainage system is clogged with the sludge your mower blew into the gutters. It all costs money. You and I provide that money.

Do not allow your children to vandalize park, pool, or playground equipment, trees or plantings in public areas, or the benches, planters, or trash receptacles downtown. If they do, make them accountable. They should understand there are consequences and that reparations are sometimes required when one does wrong.

We had Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts donate significant hours to painting picnic tables and benches in the city park and at Santa Fe Park. It was a public service project in June so the parks would look good when we had out-of-town guests for July Fourth. Almost immediately, an area homeowner noticed other youngsters digging at the freshly painted surfaces, carving names and initials, or scraping off paint that had just been applied.

The community quilt project ladies would like to get some of the playground equipment painted, but worry they would be spending the money for nothing if vandals immediately ruined the effort. Thus the equipment looks old, rusty, and uninviting. Anything repaired or replaced in our parks costs money, which comes from city funds or from fundraisers by groups of people who care. You and I provide that money.

These are only a few things we can do that might make the difference of a mill or two in a future budget. There are others. Perhaps it is time to look around and figure out where you might be able to help the county, city, or school district save a mill. I am pretty sure it won’t hurt; in fact, you might find some enjoyment in lending a hand.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

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