Editorial | Island for rent

The news that the city has saved some $4 million by asking for new bids to repair the infamous sewer lake line is good news. Despite a healthy budget at the time of the first round of proposals, the city decided that the dollar amounts were unacceptable. The city took a second look at the project, made some adjustments and sent the project back out for bids. This time, the bids were significantly lower, perhaps due to contractors who now need the work.

It sounds like good management and it is.

The recent announcement that the city is increasing the availability of space at the CCMV, to make more money from rents, presents a tougher sell. The city does need to make the facility pay for itself. Yet, it comes at the expense of groups such as the Jazzercisers — who, it seems, are one of the reasons that the place was built.

Unfortunately, the benefits that come from Islanders getting together to exercise and form social bonds are less tangible than rents.

The city must be a good steward of the resources entrusted to it by its citizens. Part of those duties is to ensure that the heat and lights remain on at city buildings, streets are maintained and that services to Islanders be provided at a high standard. Income from the community center is an important source of revenue.

But we can’t help feeling that some of the thinking about who should get to use the Island’s public facilities is counter intuitive.

It seems absurd for Island citizens to pay $200,000 to improve the Luther Burbank dog park when off-Islanders come regularly to use it for free — usage that brings with it a noxious byproduct deposited right on the shores of the lake. The park appears on hundreds of best places lists for where to take your dog. A quick Google search shows more than 40,000 hits for the park. We are not against dogs or our neighbors from the Eastside. We understand that we are citizens of a community larger that just the Island. We pay taxes that support services beyond our shores — it is important and necessary. But does it mean providing meeting and party spaces and nice dog runs?

People are accustomed to paying to use something. Boaters already pay a fee to use the Island boat launch. Perhaps the same could be done by having visitors to the dog park pay a small fee to use the facilities that we have paid for.

A bit of a hassle, but a lot more fair.

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