Taxes! No one really likes to pay taxes, but we all want the services that these tax dollars provide.

Taxes! No one really likes to pay taxes, but we all want the services that these tax dollars provide.

In order to maintain current services, the city is asking voters to approve an income tax increase from 2.25 to 2.5 percent. The request for a 2.5 percent tax rate is not new to the citizens of Grandview Heights. After the closing of Big Bear, the city lost roughly $1-million in income tax and we approved increasing our income tax from 2 to 2.5 percent in order to preserve city services.

The request for additional funding was coupled with significant spending reductions. The plan was to have a 2.5 percent rate in place to bridge the gap until new economic development would generate needed revenue. The 2.5 percent rate was to be temporary with the rate schedule to go down to 2.25, then back to 2 percent.

The budget cuts and increased revenue were effective in maintaining basic city services, but no one anticipated the dramatic downturn in the economy. The economic downturn slowed the planned re-development of Grandview Yard and further reduced income tax revenues as other Grandview Heights based companies' experienced decrease in profits.

By voting to return to a 2.5 percent income tax rate, the city will be able to generate about the same amount of revenue as we collected in 2008. This funding level, combined with additional proposed spending reductions, should be just enough to maintain current city services, and to allow the city to spend a minimum of 5 percent of the taxes for capital improvements and equipment.

Capital expenses include things such as service vehicles, police and fire equipment and upkeep on the parks. Over the past few years, spending for capital items has been deferred because funds were not available. We have now reached the point where vehicles and equipment that are past their useful life are beginning to cost more to maintain than they are worth. To save money in the long run, the city needs to address our capital needs now.

I voted against the 2010 operating budget and I have consistently asked for a budget reduction beyond the proposed $300,000 that is being suggested. I am seeking further reduction not because I feel there is wasteful city spending or services that are not necessary.

I am proposing deeper cuts for the same reason I am asking you to join me in voting yes on Issue 19 to ensure that the City has enough money to provide us with the basic services.

While recognizing that the current economy necessitates more frugal measures on everyone's part, I write to encourage friends and neighbors to vote for renewal of the Grandview Library levy.

Recently, I had an experience that made me realize how fortunate we are here in Grandview. I was driving through Chillicothe and I noticed a yard sign pleading "Bring Back our Library Vote Yes on May 4." It dawned on me that some libraries that relied on state funding had to shut their doors after the continued state cutbacks.

Days later, back in Grandview, I was returning my nearly overdue items to our library and was surprised by the level of activity inside. Patrons were checking out books, DVDs and other materials; the computers were being used by everyone from students to businessmen; the children's area was packed with kids and parents; and the front doors were strewn with the current month's library programs and activities.

I also ran into a friend and neighbor who had just finished a job counseling session at the library. As we talked, it was clear to me that, not only is our library used by patrons in the traditional sense, but our Grandview library serves as an impromptu community center and hub.

We aren't as desperate as Chillicothe and Ross County in our funding needs, but in order for our library to continue at the present levels, the levy needs to be renewed and collected at current rates. I see this few dollars a month as a frugal way to protect a great resource we have here in our city.

I never want to see yard signs in Grandview saying "Bring Back Our Library."

On May 4, I encourage everyone to vote yes on the city income tax ballot issue, for two reasons preservation of fiscally-responsible city services and capture of non-resident income tax revenue.

Between losing Big Bear, the recent economic downturn, and a decreasing reliance on property taxes, the city has struggled the past seven years. The administration has been very careful with operational dollars 2008 operational expenditures were actually less than 2002 levels and during the same period, capital expenditures were reduced by 75 percent from sustainable levels, as all available dollars went towards operations.

But capital expenditures are a necessary part of how city services are delivered. Trash trucks are necessary to pick up the trash. In 2003, 2004 and 2005, the city spent nothing on capitals.

Before Big Bear went out of business, the city was financially healthy. That prosperity, and the temporary tax increase previously approved by voters, has seen the city through several difficult years, but we are reaching the end of the period of time when we can put off capital purchases. City operations are running as lean as they can without sacrificing services or adding fees, and adequate revenue from Grandview Yard is still some years away.

Additionally, the mayor and council have been pursuing a policy of decreasing reliance on property taxes for the past several years (residential collections in 2010 are roughly the same as they've been for a decade), with the paired assumption that income taxes would have to be relied upon more.

Property taxes disproportionally rely on residents, and have especially troublesome affects on those on fixed or diminishing incomes. Income taxes capture revenue in proportion to earnings, and also importantly from non-residents working in our city. With Grandview Yard coming out of the ground and bringing with it many new non-resident workers who will pay city income tax, using income tax as a larger share of city revenue will best capture that increasing non-resident revenue stream.

For these reasons, I encourage everyone to vote yes on May 4th to maintain city services.

The recession is dragging on, and for most of us money is tighter than usual. But even in times like these, it is critical that we still find a way to step up and support the essential pillars of our community.

That's why voters should approve Issue 5, the library levy, on the May 4 ballot.

This is a vote to sustain the story hours, performances, summer concerts and the host of other benefits the library provides to us. It is a vote to maintain a vital linchpin that helps make Grandview unique.

The library's Internet access brings the world, and all its possibilities, to the fingertips of young and old alike. Its programs provide teenagers with invaluable volunteer opportunities and a chance to connect with their community.

Unfortunately, the library continues to suffer state funding cuts that force difficult choices: cut hours, cut staff, pass up the latest books and technology. The May 4 vote will reveal what we want the library to look like a month or a year from now, let alone what we think of its long-term future.

The levy is designed to maintain the present status quo at the library. That's the least we must do. If we turn our back, we risk the further erosion of one of our city's finest assets.