During Monday night's City meeting, the Commission voted 3-1 to pay almost $40,000 to fix the swimming pool. Mayor Brent Hinckley voted against the motion, after reminding the commissioners that the pool operates in the red, and that it costs every resident of the city $10 in 2007 to keep the pool operating.
It wasn't that Brent doesn't like the pool, or that he didn't want to keep it open, he just felt that it was important to remain aware that sometimes, the taxpayers are called upon to pay for things they might not agree with through taxes and fees.
In the City of Mason, whether you use the swimming pool or not, you are paying for its operation.
Considering that the pool provides a place for the kids to congregate and to cool off, this is probably a very good thing. It gives them somewhere safe to go, with lots of folks watching them, and with lots of hands guiding them. But, you're helping pay for that through fees and taxes.
In our world, we are asked to do this on a regular basis.
We support aid programs, domestic and foreign, to help out those who need food, clothing and shelter. It costs us a great deal; but, the benefits are undeniable. The question, in these uncertain times, is can we afford to keep doing this?
We send millions in foreign aid to countries that don't always show a great deal of love for us. We help out our own citizens, and watch as many "work" the system to get something for nothing.
But sometimes our foreign aid prevents a country from falling apart. And sometimes our domestic aid allows a poor child to grow into a responsible adult. We don't always know what the outcome will be.
Of course, when we tithe at church, we don't control exactly where our dollars go. When we contribute to a charity, we can't always be certain it will all go as we intended. We provide support to those things we HOPE will make a difference. And, sometimes it does.
The money we pay to our governments goes to infrastructure projects, military campaigns, educational endeavors, artistic ventures.... Our money is used for so many things. Some we don't agree with, and others we think need more funding than they receive.
In Austin and Washington, the push is to avoid "pork" projects. Of course, what one group considers pork, another considers vital. What one voting constituency looks at as a frivolous waste, those in that area often see as the most important project in years. It's all in perspective.
And, it all comes back to one question. How long can we continue to spend the money?
We bail out the banks and financial institutions because many fear that if they fail, the entire system will fail. We bail out the large automakers for the same reason. We inject money into the economy to stimulate growth, and we can only hope the money went in at the right time, and the right place, to make a difference.
This morning, I heard some commentators comparing the current crisis and Washington's response to a complicated chess game where every move is based upon what is currently happening, what we think will happen, and what has happened for the last several moves. And then, with one move, the whole game can change completely.
I guess I understand the analogy, I just don't know who all is participating in the game, nor how much longer I can be a pawn.
It’s all just my opinion.