City’s what you want it to be


Twelve years ago when we moved to Sweet Home, we were looking for a quiet small town with friendly people and beautiful surroundings. We recognized the “Oregon lifestyle” was different from our previous environment, but we wanted to embrace, appreciate the difference and advocate for change only when it made sense in the culture of the community.

One of the first things we noticed was the lack of city-funded recreational activities. Another was the way the police and library are funded by levies. Maybe we were taken aback by these differences, but we asked questions and came to understand that the tax base in the city of Sweet Home is funded at a level dating back to the ’50s, a time when one could mail a letter for 7 cents, buy gasoline for 25 cents a gallon, pay rent of $64 a month on a two-bedroom apartment and do all this on a $4,500 per year job contract. My, how times have changed. But the tax base in Sweet Home has not.

So, in response to Mrs. Lawrence’s letter regarding the funding of the library and police services through the city budget, what part of reality do you not understand? The voters of Sweet Home have not been willing to change the tax base, but they are willing to support the levies for very specific services.

Is this different from what we are used to? Yes. Would we like these services to be funded some other way? Probably. But this is what we have now, and this is what we must support.

A young couple planning to move to Sweet Home in the very near future was talking with me the other night. When I asked what they were looking for in a community, the gentleman related this story, and it seems to apply to this circumstance.

A man ran a small business on the outskirts of a town. When people stopped for a cool drink, they would ask what kind of a town was up ahead.

The man would ask, “What kind of a town did you come from?”

The first couple answered, “Oh, it was terrible, too much crime, unfriendly people, definitely not a fun place to live.”

The business owner replied, “This town is exactly like that.”

And the coulple drove straight through the town without stopping.

The next couple stopped and asked about the town. The business owner asked the same question of them.

“What kind of town did you come from?”

And the couple answered, “Oh, it was wonderful, friendly neighbors, nice schools; and we hated to leave.”

The business owner replied, “This town is just like that.”

The couple stayed in the new town and helped it grow.

Moral? Sweet Home will be what we want it to be.

So recognize the reality, mark your ballots and drop them in the ballot places or the mail box (with a stamp). We must support the levies for the services to maintain our community.

Diane Gerson

Sweet Home