KATIE ZERR: City pledges this pool will be built
When there are issues that impact the community like the opt out to fund a new outdoor aquatics center in Mobridge, it seems nearly shameful that those it might have impacted didn’t make an effort to become informed about what was going to happen or vote on the issue.
For whatever the reason, the meager percentage of voters who did go to the polls defeated the opt out by 34 votes.
It is difficult to say what defeated the opt out. One hopes it was because of the increase in taxes in a time when things are tight. One only hopes it wasn’t because voters were not informed and listened to rumors and untruths floating around the community. There were a number of public meetings held with information about the project that was there for the taking. There were few takers.
Maybe there wasn’t enough public information readily available. Maybe the national attitude of disdain for anything related to taxes prevailed. Maybe people are just weary of giving more. Maybe they felt they couldn’t afford to support the project.
There were rumors that the design was incomplete and there were more changes on the way. There were rumors that the project could cost more than the projected $2.5 million and the city would just take more money from taxpayers as the costs increased.
If those who spread those rumors would only have paid attention to what was truly happening and would have asked questions about what they had heard, they may have received the correct information.
Just to address the rumor about increases in taxes above the $2.5 million opt out, by law, the amount requested, the $2.5 million and the opt out ceiling of $200,000 per year stands as it was passed by the voters. The city cannot go back and change that, no matter what someone who is opposed to the project says.
With all of the debris in the air about the project and the other being proposed, it is understandable that some voters have been confused.
Those people who have been connected with this project for the past six or seven years would seem to be the people who are most knowledgeable about it.
These are engineers, architects, and other professionals who have worked with city officials and members of this community on projects for years and know about the wants and needs of the people who live here.
There was no conspiracy, no fly-by-night plans created under the dark of night to get something on the table in order to create a good show. It was an evolving plan that started out big and was pared down to a plan that was thought to be affordable.
That is the way things work.
In 2009, when the perfect storm of a collapsing economy and skyrocketing costs hit the Mobridge-Pollock School project, that board, their architects and their engineers went back to the drawing board and made cuts to the project to fit the funding they had. That is what professionals do.
A friend commented that although a tax increase would mean a sacrifice for him and his family, he voted in favor of the opt out.
His comment was that although it would mean he would pay more in taxes, he felt that he and those who live in Mobridge are the caretakers of the community. The decisions we make today, he said, are those that will impact our home now and for the next 30 to 40 years.
For now it is back to work for those connected with the project. They will double their efforts because they are dedicated to getting this project completed.
This pool will be built, for our community and for our children. Those involved have pledged it will and they are people we can believe will finish what they start.