Residents of Gladstone will have an opportunity on Monday, May 19, that they should take advantage of.
At 7 p.m. in city hall, the Gladstone City Commission will open the floor to residents of the city. Commissioners are asking how to continue providing city services - and if that requires raising taxes.
It is no secret that much of the funding from state and federal sources municipalities once used to enjoy is pretty much a thing of the past. Revenue from property taxes are making up an increasing percentage of the local budgets, Meanwhile, demand for services from local governments continue.
Gladstone elected officials pose a very important question when it asks residents how to continue services. As elected officials, they should be doing the will of the people. It is only right they should ask the people what their will is.
The bottom line is we all want our local governments to continue to provide services we have grown accustomed to - garbage disposal, police and fire service, recreational facilities ... the list goes on. The problem that faces our elected officials is all those services cost money, and money is in short supply. The commission deserves credit for bringing up the dreaded T-word - taxes - into the mix. Nothing is free, and it may turn out that raising taxes is the only way to continue some services. Residents, however, may opt to keep their tax bills the same and forego some services. Hopefully, these issues will be clarified through citizen input in the weeks ahead.
The Gladstone City Commission deserves credit for scheduling this meeting. Indications are it it may only be the first of several on the same subject.
The residents of Gladstone will be able to have their say about the future of city-provided services. Hopefully, the Gladstone City Commission will come away from these meetings with a clear picture of what services the public wants - and if they are willing to pay for them.