No vision, no money

April 25th, 2011 by Ken

The Lacey City Council just recently participated in a visioning retreat, a continuation of a retreat held earlier.

Its purpose was to look forward five to 20 years and set a vision for what they wanted the City of Lacey to become. It’s an exercise that most businesses and organizations undertake.

The Lacey Councilmembers came up with 88 ideas and concepts of what they would like the city to look like in the future. The ideas ranged from simple ones – – such as putting sidewalks in older neighborhoods, to more dreamlike concepts of new parks, new trails, new facilities and other such ideas.

So, it’s alright to have a vision, but it’s a another things to put those visions into any form of reality. Particularly when the City of Lacey has no money.

Within the next five years, the City of Lacey will be millions of dollars in debt if it continues on its current path. City Financial Director Troy Woo has said that the future won’t be as profitable as the past. Revenue from all sources is down. Sales tax revenue is down, property tax revenue is down, business and occupation tax revenue is down, and yet, the cost of running the city continues to climb.

Labor costs have been averaging more than six percent a year for the past five years and it’s projected to continue at a two percent increase yearly for at least the next three years.

But that concern wasn’t even addressed as the Lacey Council underwent its visioning process. Almost everything they wanted to see in the future cost money, but they never talked about money.

Lacey staff have been good at keeping the city out of debt and on a sound financial footing during these past three years of recession. While other cities have had to scramble, Lacey has weathered the economic downturn fairly well.

But the Council hasn’t seemed to grasp that the future of the city won’t be business as usual. Maybe one of these dreamers will wake up soon and see that the dream world they’ve created might become a nightmare, unless monetary issues are addressed and addressed soon.

Posted in Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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