April 08, 2005
How are things in Bedford now?

Remember the Bedford tax rollback vote? How have things panned out so far? The DMN has an update.

The library is padlocked, the recreation center is boarded up, and the weeds are running riot on the broad lawn outside City Hall, where they've stopped mowing the grass.

The swim season isn't here yet, but a sign warns that the city-owned water park won't open this summer.


Depending on whom you believe, this is either a case of cantankerous anti-tax cranks too cheap to pay their fair share, or of profligate city leaders whose extravagance pushed cash-strapped residents into open rebellion.

It's probably a little bit of both and a little bit of neither, but more than anything, it's a civics lesson.

Lesson One: A small group of persistent and well-organized people can have a dramatic impact on the electoral process.

Lesson Two: National and state politics may be a lot more glamorous and newsworthy, but it's local government that plays the most intimate role in your life.

Lesson Three: It's at your peril that you dismiss local politics as too boring to be worthy of your attention.

"This is democracy in action," said Terry Clower, associate director of the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas. "Everybody says, 'We want lower taxes.' And that's fine. But there's a consequence to having lower taxes."


It's certainly possible that the city could have chosen equally devastating but less visible (and newsworthy) cuts than shutting down the swimming pool and padlocking the library. It's also possible that it's making a statement: You want a tax cut? OK, you got it!

The piece notes that contrary to what some rollback proponents argued, there have been layoffs as well, though there's no mention of cuts in the fire department, of which there had also been warnings before the vote. It also says that there will be a regular municipal election on May 7 which may give rollback proponents a voting majority on the Bedford City Council and thus the opportunity to do the budget their way. Might be interesting to see what happens if they do. Via Greg.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 08, 2005 to Election 2005 | TrackBack