On March 19, the city council voted 4-3 against hiring a consultant to do a comprehensive study of the recreation facilities of North Platte. Councilman Jim Carman was outspoken in opposition. This week, he wrote us this letter.
I am happy to learn that the health and wellness committee will likely raise private funds to go ahead with the study of our parks and recreation facilities.
David Pederson said Wednesday the committee is "trying to look at options, and I suppose that could be one, but the general consensus is that we need to work with the City, not around them," he said. -Editor.
The committee did an excellent job trying to convince the council to fund the study with tax dollars. I am sure some good ideas will come from the study that will be helpful to us as we plan for the future. I plan to make a personal contribution to the funding of the study.
I am also happy that our city council voted not to fund the study with tax dollars. My primary concern was that if the city council had voted to approve Growth Fund dollars to fund the study that it would create an expectation from some of our citizens that we would also approve whatever the consultant recommends we do to expand/improve our current facilities.
As David Pederson indicated during his presentation to the council, no one knows what the recommendations will be. My point of view is that the consultant may come back and say that we are doing fine with our parks and recreation facilities. On the other hand, they may come back and recommend that we spend millions of tax dollars to expand/improve our facilities. I think it is this unknown factor that troubled those of us who voted no on the measure.
Since the council meeting, Mr. Pederson has suggested that we should not be afraid to find out what we need. I don’t think the council is afraid. Cautious, yes. Wary, perhaps. Afraid, no.
Mr. Pederson also seems to suggest that the council should not be as concerned about the use of tax dollars already collected (quality growth fund dollars), as we (the council) are about tax dollars that are not collected yet. It is my position that we should be prudent in the spending of any and all tax dollars. As a matter of fact, that is why they council has the final say as to how growth fund monies are spent.
The council is accountable, individually and collectively, to our taxpayers for how we spend their money. That is as it should be.
By Jim Carman, Ward 3 city councilman