High utility fees
David Churchman’s Sept. 14 letter illustrates the growing concerns of Ashland residents over the spiraling cost of city government. A lot of the increases in his utility bill are additional fees, taxes and surcharges because our elected officials have failed to prioritize goals and spending.
Our budget is up 82 percent in the past 10 years. Since property taxes are limited, our city councilors have resorted to charging high fees to cover salaries that are often higher than comparable ones in the private sector. This trend is unsustainable. We desperately need better fiscal stewardship from our elected officials in the use of our money.
Surprise guests speak
Senior Planner Derek Severson and Commission Chair Roger Pearce hosted a surprise party they didn’t really seem to want at the Ashland Planning Commission Meeting Sept. 11.
This party featured the architect’s enthusiastic presentation of plans for an R-3 rated three-quarter acre, 15-unit, 60-bedroom apartment complex slated for development at Park and Siskiyou, and designed to house 60 individual renters or more. Afterward, the surprise “guests” were allowed just five minutes each to question traffic, safety, parking, tree loss, flooding, noise, overcrowding and design flaws, plus the aesthetics of a three-story building that would block both Ashland’s tree-lined hills and Grizzly Peak from view.
It didn’t take Pearce long after the interlopers finished to silence their complaints. From this point on people from the neighborhood can’t express concerns out loud, only in writing, and only for the next two or three weeks. Are the planners destined to discover flaws in the design once it’s already built and failing?
Clearly the intent of the meeting’s leaders was to minimize the opposition and usher these plans through quickly to save time and possibly money. Their motto appears to be, “Party now, worry about the hangovers later, and, please! Keep those party crashers quiet!”