Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where Did $79 Million Go?

Unless you were at the Shawnee City Council meeting Monday night you probably cannot answer that question.

The point I'm trying to make is that unless Shawnee citizens get involved they have no idea how the council is spending their money. 

Monday was a perfect example of what I have been saying for a long time.  During the business from the floor portion (after the budget hearing), a member of the community got up to say how unhappy he and other folks in his subdivision were with some recent street repairs.  Personally, I do not know if his complaints was valid or not.  What I do know is that he, like just about everybody else, never showed up at various council meetings when it was discussed how certain street repairs had to be modified.  They were never there when it was discussed how certain repairs, for budgetary reasons, had to be cut back.  And, he and others were not there to discuss, at the budget hearing, the various points of how to use the Deffenbaugh impact fees (infrastructure, eco development or a combination).

And are he and his neighbors among the high percentage of Shawnee residents who vote in Presidential elections, but sit home for City Council elections.  Don't believe me?  Here are the numbers, for Shawnee:

2008 Presidential election  40,791  registered voters   32,177 actually voted

2010 City Council election   39,862 registered voters  3,890 actually voted

That means that 78.9% of Shawnee citizens voted for President, but only 9.8% voted in the last city election.

The elected body that controls local taxes, provides emergency services, maintains streets and parks, plows snow,  etc only less than 1 out of 10 residents get involved to the point of voting.  How many show up at council and/or council committee meetings?  Usually the number can be counted on the fingers of one hand, if that many.