Invest in employees
Northwestern Michigan College and Traverse City Area Public Schools suffer from the same illness — they've opted to invest in buildings rather than teachers.
When my father, Bill Shaw, retired from NMC in the 1990s, he lamented the fact that his full-time position would disappear.
When schools rediscover the necessity of investing in their employees, then I, for one, will support millage increases for the upkeep of buildings.
Leadership the cause
If a half-full glass of lemonade is too weak, then the remaining space must be filled with stronger lemonade.
Therefore, new city homes and neighborhoods should be more expensive, or less affordable, than existing homes.
We squander scarcity when city policy reduces average home values.
Increasing population density won't work, either.
Available criminal science data suggests that crime will increase in frequency and severity along with increases in population density.
Poverty increases this effect, which decreases property values and increases services load.
The quality of neighborhood life diminishes for everyone when city policy allows low-income to become landlord to poverty.
We spend a million to remove a zoo and a million for redevelopment.
We can't just pave a street on the west-central side of town anymore.
We must include brick inlays, flowered berms, designer lamp-posts and decorative little traffic circles. We are spending without increasing the tax base.
Meanwhile, "affordable" city neighborhoods have dirt streets. City leadership should be required to maintain our city services first.
A 4 percent motel room tax could help pay for tourism's infrastructure load.
Budget problems are caused by poor city leadership, and not by the teachers, firemen or city workers who take the blame.