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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Kent Bush: Everyone wants dinner but no one wants to pick up tab

  • CAVE stands for Citizens Against Virtually Everything
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  • The easiest thing to do is vote no.
    One of my favorite publishers – no, not me – introduced me to the term CAVE people. CAVE stands for Citizens Against Virtually Everything. Unfortunately, these cave people never evolved or became extinct.
    When the flood of 1998 sunk Augusta’s west side under several feet of water, people called for change. The city was criticized for more than a decade because another flood could be right around the corner and no one had done anything about it.
    Now the levee is built. It was hard to get a camera lens with a wide enough angle to get all of the dignitaries in the photo claiming credit for their part in protecting the city from the next great flood.
    But then the check came and many of those same people who were doing the happy dance and high-fiving each other are trying their best to dine and dash.
    Paying for the new levee should have resulted in a four-mill increase in property taxes for Augusta businesses and homeowners. The city’s public library has its own taxing authority now and they raised their demands almost another mill.
    But the Augusta governing body didn’t raise taxes almost five mills. The council approved the 2015 budget on a 6-2 vote with Sue Jones and Matt Malone voting in opposition with no comment as to why. The budget raised taxes 2.81 mills.
    The Augusta School Board approved a budget that lowers its tax rate by one mill. That is a net increase in Augusta of just under two mills despite all of the capital improvements citizens are funding.
    In Mulvane, the citizens will see a net increase of 6 mills after the city raised its rate 0.25 mills and the schools hit patrons with a 5.75 mill increase.
    A recent court ruling that lessened the financial impact of the Kansas Star Casino dropped the value of each mill in the Mulvane district by $16,000.
    But the Augusta City Council is still catching heat on social media from people who think any tax increase is too much. These are the same people who would eviscerate the council if another flood came and no levee was there to protect Augusta.
    This is why it is so hard to find good people to serve in these positions that are basically volunteer jobs.
    But I gave some great advice one time when a public servant was growing tired of answering questions of people who are willfully ignorant and radically critical of the policies government enacts.
    “Public service sucks,” I said. “But letting someone else do it wrong sucks worse.”
    No one pays closer attention to state and local governments than I do. I have had friends in politics tell me that people warned them about how I would attack them if they crossed a line.
    Page 2 of 2 - And that is more or less accurate.
    However, I also appreciate the hard work that dedicated public servants put in to make sure their citizens are safe and the city and state prosper.
    You think I don’t get criticized for my ideas? Check out the Viewpoints in each day’s newspaper.
    I write rational, sometimes humorous columns when many of my readers just want me to remind them of what Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter said yesterday. The cost of writing thoughtful, original columns is angering those who want to hear the next verse of the only song playing in the echo chamber. The cost of public service is occasional, irrational and incorrect criticism.
    Both are still worth it.
    Kent  Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: kbush@butlercountytimesgazette.com

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