There are not many roles for government that are as clearly defined as public safety. It’s one of the few things most people agree should continue to fall under the purview of a governmental entity. Another is infrastructure, like roads and sewer pipes. Those things are often lumped together, but they are in fact, unique and independent from each other.
For those who live in Pleasant Grove, there is another opportunity this year to vote on bonding (taking out a loan) for a public safety building. Last year, the bond was defeated and so was an incumbent mayor. This year, the new mayor is getting a healthy shove under the bus by some of the very same people who worked to get him there. Why? Because he supports the new proposal, of course.
The city has worked tirelessly to address concerns about the public safety building. Too expensive? Cut the cost, from $12/month to $7/month. (Not $100. Not $1000. Seven Dollars.) Might need to tear down a building? Scratch that and build up instead of out. Too much input from people who live in the community? Hire an outside consulting group. An increase in property tax that would be permanent? Move to a bond that is paid off, with no permanent increase. The city council could have simply voted to pass a tax increase. They didn’t. Instead, they placed the decision in the hands of voters (as they should).
The level of outreach, collaboration and transparency by the city has far surpassed the letter of the law.
For some critics, it’s not enough, nor will it likely EVER be enough. A campaign to defeat the bond has sprung up, run by some of the same people who opposed the bond last year. However, unlike the city that has been open and transparent, posting notices, placing signs, sending newsletters, using multiple electronic means to spread the word and ask for input, IN ADDITION to holding many public meetings, this group waited until 2 weeks before the election to try and engage the citizens of Pleasant Grove. That’s the type of thing typically associated with an “October surprise,” trying to throw an election and let’s face it – negative campaigning works.
It won’t for us, though.
We have done our due diligence.
Our family will be voting in favor of the bond. We are grateful for the many sacrifices made by the men and women serving us in the public safety sector. The demands on them and their families are great and the fact that they now have to be subjected to additional personal insults and abuse is really just beyond the pale.
We are not alone in our support for PG’s public safety officers.
In a rare move, fiscal watchdog group, the Utah Taxpayers Association has endorsed the Pleasant Grove bond. They said, in part:
After touring Pleasant Grove’s existing public safety facilities and getting specific cost details, your Taxpayers Association is convinced of the need for this bond and endorses the city’s proposal. The city has demonstrated resourcefulness and a genuine respect for citizen feedback in making do with existing facilities and refining a proposal worthy of voter approval this fall….Pleasant Grove’s need for a new public safety facility that can accommodate fire, police and courts is undeniable.
Additionally, they added:
Over the past thirty years Pleasant Grove City’s population has tripled, leaving public safety facilities insufficient to meet increased demand.Pleasant Grove has found ways to be remarkably resourceful with the limitations of existing facilities, but if the city is going to continue providing public safety services for its citizens, a new public safety building is crucial. Your Taxpayers Association endorses this bond.
Interestingly, some opponents of the bond are now trying to discredit the Utah Taxpayers Association. This organization has been around for almost 100 years. They are fiscal hawks and they mean business. They are affiliated with Americans for Tax Reform, the national group headed by Grover Norquist. They are active on Capitol Hill, in cities and towns and everywhere in between . They publish “Fast Tax” guides to help taxpayers out and are uber-transparent with what bills they support and why. They know their stuff. When it comes to tax policy, they are the most respected group in the state. Claiming otherwise is simply false.
Providing for public safety is one of the clearly defined, appropriate roles of government.
Helping our public safety officers be safe while serving us is just the right thing to do.
Vote yes on November 4th.