Dateline Tuesday, May 10th, 2016.
I just returned from lunch and was hit with two pieces of what I would consider to be bad news. Not horrible, just bad.
First, the results of the mail-in ballot election on raising the city sales tax .75 cents are in and “Yes” has carried the day. With a voter turnout of just under 40 and a half percent, it was “Yes” 6,216 and “No” 5,350. That works out to 53.74% in favor and 46.26% against. Pretty close.
It will not come as a surprise to anybody who listens to me on the radio that I voted “No”. The only reason I voted “No” was because “HELL NO!” was not an option.
The second bit of bad news in my world was the failure of the petition to limit the amount the City can let bonds for in the Fieldhouse project was thrown out due to a lack of valid signatures. Originally, the City Commission was only going to match the 4.5 million dollars coming from the private sector. Then, there was a push to make the City’s share as much as 7.5 million while requiring nothing more from those members of the public who are willing to privately support this. A couple of Salina activists organized a petition drive to put that decision to a vote of the people, but they didn’t get enough valid signatures.
Given our seemingly bottomless pockets (remember we recently ponied up quite a bit more dough for the public schools) when it comes to self-imposed taxes, who knows how much the City might spend on the Fieldhouse project.
All this being said, don’t expect me to not enjoy the things these additional taxes will provide. I don’t know if I will have need of the Fieldhouse, but if I do I’ll use it. Who knows, maybe my grandkids will play in tournaments there. Same thing with the extras the new sales tax will provide. Personally, I thought we could have gotten by without the tax increase, but my side didn’t win.
Over the years I have run into long time Salinans who have never set foot in the Bi-Center. When asked why, the reply is always, “I voted against it. Four times!” Maybe so, but—in the end— your side didn’t prevail. It is here now, so why not enjoy it? After all, like it or not, you are paying for it.