I hope everyone’s summer went well and that we are all looking forward to Fall. The last quarter of the year is by far the best in my book. I love the holidays, family and the cooler weather. With all that floating around, it has made me think about the Bartonville family.
Yes, Town Hall is focused on the day-to-day operations of the town, but should we be thinking about more than that?
Recently, it was expressed to me that the citizens of Bartonville pay taxes but what do they get for them other than street repairs? That was a profound statement. I should mention how low our town tax rate is, not just compared to local cities but within the state. It’s low. I will do everything I can to keep it that way. I could tell you about the 5-year plan we have put in place to repair our streets that have fallen into disarray.
Taxes pay for the day-to-day enforcement of town ordinances that protect your property values. Taxes pay for a police department to assist in protection of the town. I could tell you about our budget process that is currently on going.
My focus is to ensure that we have a surplus of funds so as to secure the future fiscal safety of our town. All of this is what people get for their tax dollars. We pay a separate tax for fire and ambulance protection. That is the Emergency Services District of which we are a part.
Multiple cities/towns came together to form a single district to provide a level of service individual cities/towns could not do alone.
When someone serves on the town council, they look at the job from a couple of perspectives. Some ask what can we give the residents of the town while others see it as what must a town provide. I fall on the must provide. My view is the town needs to do the minimum and get out of the way. Keep taxes low, keep our streets in great shape and protect our town ordinances.
Most citizens moved to Bartonville for the rural environment not over reaching town government. But I may have been wrong on one point.
For the most part, many of us live on acreage and not in a neighborhood/subdivision. We can lose that feeling of community. What does that mean? When I moved here 22 years ago, we had parties in the streets from time to time. We had city events that focused on the neighborly “Mayberry” spirit of the town.
Yes, we have new people in our town, and yes, change has come whether we wanted it or not. But we still need to have the opportunity to have community. That is where I may have been mistaken with my focus on keeping government small. To allow the town to sponsor events around our great little town engaging the sense of community, I feel is worth it.
I want to ask the residents of Bartonville, what does community mean to you? What can we do together to foster the growth of community in our town? It can be small or large. It can be a one-time thing, biannual or annual. It was suggested to me to have a band, food, games, events and even an annual soap box derby for the kids. Yes, simple non-electronics time can be fun. Please send me your ideas.
As I reflected on this simple question, I found that in the past, even when I did not attend an event, I felt good that we were having them. This is something that has been lost over the past 10 years. Community events would not cost the town tens of thousands of dollars. Reckless spending is not how the current council works. I believe that government should stay out of the way, but I also believe it can help build what we all want, hometown community.
Councilman Jeff Traylor can be reached at Place1@townofbartonville.com.