Metropolis, IL

Opinion

EDITORIAL: Sit back and do nothing, or become informed?

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - Updated: 10:57 AM
So many people have been vocal about their support or opposition for the 1 percent sales tax.
For those people who say it will just succeed in finishing off the businesses here in Metropolis and prevent future growth, consider this — how much local shopping do you do?
That’s a good question for everyone to ask, regardless of whether the sales tax initiative passes or fails.  When possible, do you shop locally to help businesses that Are already here?
It may not be financially feasible to shop 100 percent of the time in Metropolis.  There may be things people need that Metropolis businesses might not have.  But, it’s worth the time and effort to investigate what is here to see if it can be purchased locally.
Buying local will help to increase the amount of sales tax that does come back to the county. If everyone did just a little bit more shopping in Massac County, it will bound to help our county and city.
For those who are opposed to the tax, let’s also think about what is going to happen if it does not pass.
The county has limited funds, at best, to deal with the maintenance on the current courthouse.  Now that the court system has temporarily moved to the courthouse annex — the former Banterra Bank building — there are now additional bills for maintenance the county has to pay.
If the sales tax does not pass, it is a real possibility the county could lose its court system.  The county owns the courthouse annex, but the courtroom that is being used does not meet with the Illinois Supreme Court’s specifications, which means, if the court system stays, the county will have to spend more money to make the courtroom compliant.
The county has sent a letter to Massac County Judge Joe Jackson and to Chief Judge James Williamson regarding the county’s plan.  If the sales tax initiative fails at the polls in November, then the county is looking at cutting budgets up to 17 percent.
At Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, as pointed out by Amy Rose, the Fraternal Order of Police union attorney, if that kind of cut comes down on the sheriff’s budget, that could mean layoffs and might possibly mean the closing of the jail.  If there are fewer deputies patrolling and fewer dispatchers to answer 911 calls, the response time in emergency situations could be much longer.
For all those who think the 1 percent sales tax will hurt Massac County, let’s say the sales tax initiative fails again, what will the commissioners do then?
Another alternative would be to impose a property tax increase and everyone knows that people would be even more upset if they have to pay more in property taxes.
At least with a sales tax, tourists and out-of-towners who come into Massac County to spend money in retail establishments would also be helping to pay for the sales tax, without the county having to turn to a property tax.
Yes, nobody wants to pay any more in taxes than they have to, but where will the county come up with $5 million dollars, or possibly more?
Historically, Massac County government has never had a huge amount of money in order to keep up with major maintenance issues at the courthouse.  We feel previous county boards did their best to keep the building patched up as best they could.
Now, for a moment, let’s switch gears to the City of Metropolis.  There always seems to be a lot of discontentment with how there is not a lot of growth in the city and a lack of trying to bring new businesses and industry into the city and county.
In regard to the Metropolis City Council and the mayor, often times people will say they need to “do something.”  How many of the people who sit back and say the city or the county need to “do something” or say “those people need to be voted out” will actually do something themselves?
How many people will actually pick up petitions in September and solicit signatures to run for alderman in their wards in next spring’s election?
It is so easy to sit back and criticize, but how many people will take action.  The “do something” starts with everyone doing their part.
If you are not happy with the way the city or county government is being handled, then let that move you to take action to run for office or to attend meetings and speak up to the leaders during the public comment session.  You can even submit a letter to the editor here at the Planet explaining your views.
There is be a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m.  It will be held in the small courtroom at the courthouse and the courthouse offices will be available for tours if anyone wants to see the damage to the building that must be repaired.
 So you, the readers, should “do something.”  You should become informed and attend the meeting if you are at all interested in what happens to the future of the Massac County Courthouse.  Tell your friends and family to make plans to attend.  The engineer, the representative from the bonding company, the commissioners and hopefully the department heads will be there to help answer questions.


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