Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Trails

Fayetteville Ward 2 Alderman Kyle Cook, who is also chairman of the city’s Sidewalks and Trails Task Force, is mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore. During the budget hearings last year, Cook reluctantly gave up $800,000 of the $1.3 million trail budget because the city was facing a budget crunch due to declining sales tax collections. This time he will fight for full funding for the trail system, and he needs our help.

That we had to delay trail construction for a year is somewhat puzzling. In September, 2006, voters approved a sales tax increase and extension to fund $2.1 million in bonds for trail construction. Has that entire amount already been spent on trail construction in less than two years?

And what about the 1% HMR Tax that goes to the Parks and Recreation Department? That is more than a million dollars a year, and the department is also sitting on a multi-million dollar surplus. How about establishing the Fayetteville Trails City Park and spending some of that surplus where it would do some good?

Then there is another $2 million in surplus in the airport fund. It is slowly being nibbled away by subsidizing the exclusive jetport for corporate executives, but wouldn't a majority of Fayetteville residents rather it be spent on the trail system? Call it an enhancement of our quality of life and a contribution to economic development if you want, but start spending the people's money on projects that benefit the people.

Whatever, let Alderman Cook and the other members of the City Council know that you support full funding for trails if you do. If not, tell them to just let those surplus balances in the Parks Department and the Airport fund sit there and do nothing, while the administration again says we need to raise property taxes instead of cutting expenses.

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