Letters to the Editor, May 8, 2019

City budget cuts

Fiscally responsible city is worth it

Dear editors:

Your reporting in “Prop 1 debate continues as Island cuts become reality” and “Light rail could prompt rezoning conversation” in the last two issues makes it sound as if the defeat of Proposition 1 in November sounded a death knell for the city, i.e., without increased revenues it won’t be able to pay its bills in the future.

Rather, I think what the Prop 1 vote has done is force the city to do what Mike Cero suggested in “Prop 1 debate continues…” — that is, find efficiencies and prioritize the services it provides Mercer Island citizens.

My wife and I didn’t vote for Prop 1, not because we’re against an increase in the levy to fund city programs, but because we didn’t want to give the city a blank check. Prop 1 as written did essentially that by having no cap on future levy increases, no transparency in what the funds would actually be used for, and no accountability on the city’s part to find efficiencies and prioritize services.

If the city can show us that it is doing its best to live within its budget, as the rest of us must, and is spending our tax dollars wisely, I wouldn’t mind paying a higher levy if it’s capped, transparent and the city is held accountable for how it’s spent. If that means sacrificing things like an Easter Egg hunt and Summer Celebration for a few years while the city tightens its belt, the end result of a more fiscally responsible city government is well worth it.

Michael W. Sherer

Mercer Island

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