2010-10-09 / Editorials & Letters

Guest column: Tough times, tough choices

By Brian Harkness

I am pastor of New Life Community UMC and Hebron UMC and director of the New Life Community Center in Hebron. As I write these words, please understand I am not speaking for my congregations. These are my opinions.

My wife and I moved to Hebron in 2003 to start New Life Community Church. We bought a home in the Dominion Homes development and at the time we had three school age children. One has now graduated and is in the Air Force. The other two are still in school, one in 8th grade and one in 11th grade.

I have heard many arguments for and against the levy. It’s a passionate subject. On the one hand we are determining the future for our children and on the other we are asking for our community to vote to raise their own taxes.

I hope everyone understands by now that we are in this situation due to changes that the state of Ohio made in the tax law that has resulted in the district losing $4 million from their total budget. This is not the school board’s fault. It is the state’s fault. The State has put us in tough times with tough choices.

Whether you are a “Yes” voter or a “No” voter, there are at least two things we have in common:

1) None of us get up in the morning and say, “Gee if I could just pay more taxes, I’d be so happy!” We all feel the financial strain. We all would rather have someone else pay for this state forced problem.

2) We all want what’s best for our children and the children of this community. They are our future! There are many other benefits to having great schools. New people see a community that puts their children first and want to move here and live here. Businesses and investments are attracted to towns with great schools. Eventually, in a town with great schools, everyone wins.

The tough question is, “Can we all make the necessary financial adjustments and sacrifices to overcome this challenge?

I believe the answer is a resounding, “YES WE CAN”. I have done the research for our property and according to the licking county levy calculator at www.lcounty.com/ontrac/ my family will pay an additional $456.00 a year in taxes for our property when we vote for the levy. That’s $38.00 a month or $9.50 a week.

My family will make sacrifices and live more simply. My family will buy less and eat out less, all to put our children first.

OVER ‡

Why? Why vote yes and pay more in taxes and live on less?

Here’s why we will vote “Yes!”

1) I know Mr. Gault and Mr. Ettenhofer and some of the school board members. They are not the enemy. The state has forced them into a very difficult situation.

For the record, I believe that these people are good and honest people who are trying to do what’s right for the children of our community and our future.

2) I believe in our children! I believe there’s nothing more worth sacrificing for than our children and our community.

3) I believe in our community. Lakewood district is full of amazing people like you. We may disagree on some things but in the end we all understand that Great Communities are made with Great Sacrifice! Vote “Yes” in November!

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