Letter: City ship seeks more gold to sail

One ... two ... three ... four - Oh, forget it. Counting to 10 like my mother taught me just doesn't work anymore. I realize we have a representative form of government as is our local City Council. But, watching a room full of city politicians and bureaucrats at their last work session grabbing like kids at a parade for any tax goodies they can find laying in the street leaves me shaking my head.

And, whenever they can't grab up enough to satisfy themselves, up goes the sales tax increase or bonding suggestion to see if they can elicit another toss of taxpayer bucks. Or, is it a trial balloon being floated in the rising hot air? - just to test the breeze, you see.

Digging into just a little old city history would show that when they got their hands on their sales tax windfall, the city had more cash than it knew what to do with. Remember that this was before hardly any of Butler existed and Golden Valley was nothing more than scraped off section lines waiting for buyers, and Interstate 40 was nowhere within miles of the city limits.

They condemned a whole city block in front of the courthouse in flexing their muscle before the county Board of Supervisors and built a sprawling new city complex. They bought up million dollar water companies - with cash as I recall - and designed pricey four-color city stationery befitting their well-funded image. I know, I printed truck loads of it over the years.

They built parks, re-aligned and put in overpasses on Hualapai Mountain Road, street lights and all manner of enhancements with just a few bonds floated for a handful of major projects.

Now here we are in 2011 with a city crying poverty and no money to do anything with. Mind you the population growth of Butler and Golden Valley has added a huge percentage to the sales tax revenue dropped in the city - more is still not enough!

And, they succeeded in routing I-40 smack dab through the middle of town so they could have easy access to milking that cash cow - more is still not enough!

Some private local business owners have amassed veritable fortunes during this same time frame of which I speak here, and provided a needed boost to our local employment picture following the mine closure. Oh, the city has created jobs, too, at a rather fantastic clip. Yet, city hall would have us believe that what has been such a boon for the rest of the city seems to have left them nearly penniless. Can this be true?

But, city fund balances have increased from $25 million to over $46 million in just the past five years alone. How can one be broke with $46 million in the bank?

We are in good shape is often muttered, and Mayor John Salem boasts his ability to keep the city ship afloat. Well, it's hard to sink a ship floating in a pot of gold. So, the Council turns to a new and novel strategy. They don't throw things overboard to keep the ship from sinking; they add gold to the pot so she'll ride higher.

Now, go hock your life preserver so you can do your part. You gotta love the way government thinks.

Loyd Peterson