I am writing in response to Auburn City Councilor Mike Farrell’s contention that residents who wish to raise taxes to pay for particular services should instead “open their wallets” and make voluntary contributions to pay for these services. The logic is seductive but deeply flawed. By his reasoning, Auburn should eliminate all of its services and reduce the tax rate to zero. The city could become a charity; people could make contributions for services as needed.
To take a specific instance, even if diligent fundraisers were able to find the $25,000 necessary to keep the school resource officers in our public schools, they would still lack the commitment of the city to maintain this officer. Let me be more explicit: child safety is not just about the peace of mind of parents; it is about our collective welfare.
What many residents were saying on Tuesday night, April 20, (and what Councilor Farrell was apparently unable to acknowledge) was that some collective commitments are too important to eliminate. And as more than citizens pointed out, the city will likely save money in the long run if it honors these commitments in the short run.
I respect Councilor Farrell’s opposition to raising taxes, even if I think it is penny wise and pound foolish. What I hope is that he (or at least his future listeners) will recognize the poor logic that sustains it.
Joseph Hall, Auburn