Friday, April 1, 2011
Yes, I will vote for the one-half cent sales tax increase in Fort Scott on April 5.
Serving on committees and boards aren't really my thing. Several months ago I was invited to lend a helping hand and serve on the Community Health and Wellness Committee, a group of people assembled to promote the half-cent sales tax increase that would fund the $3.9 million renovation of the city pool and an addition to Buck Run Community Center.
At first I was skeptical if I wanted to be involved. It took less than a 1-hour meeting to change my mind. Later that evening I told my wife that I didn't want to be a person who supported an initiative but didn't back it up. I didn't want to be someone who complained about a lack of good opportunities in Fort Scott yet did nothing to fix it. So there I was, involved.
I've heard the bad. Why do we need a pool? Why does Buck Run need to be bigger? Fort Scott needs jobs...not recreational activities! And so on and so on. The thing is, I know we need good jobs in this town. We need to focus on that as well. But nobody wants to live in a town with nothing to do.
I've also heard the good. And there's been an overwhelming response from the YES voters.
So before I jumped to make a decision I wanted to know the facts. Fact is that the pool is OLD! Buck Run is small and crowded. It's going to cost money to fix both issues...
After hearing all the facts and opinion, it's been surprising how easy of a decision it's been coming to the conclusion that I came to. IT'S WORTH IT! Yes, we are raising the sales tax . . . but it's by half a penny per dollar. Before I dismiss the fact that a half cent seems trivial, I decided to figure up what I spent in Fort Scott last year. On debit card transactions alone, I spent right at $4,000 in Fort Scott establishments. That figures to be $332 dollars in sales tax that I paid out last year based on 8.3%. If it raises to 8.8% I would have paid $352. That's a change of $20!!! If we take that times 10 years, it's $200. I'll write a check TODAY for that amount with no second thought and I don't have a surplus of $100 bills sitting around.
Granted, that was just on debit card transactions. But I rarely write a check to a local establishment OR pay with cash. This was a simple decision for me. I'm giving up a few hundred dollars over the course of 10 years for a new pool and expanded Buck Run. The trade-off, for my family, is worth every penny.
I personally will likely not swim in the pool. My daughter, though, most assuredly will. And that's why I will vote YES on the initiative to build a new pool and expand Buck Run.