Stillwater News Press

Our View

June 14, 2010

OUR VIEW: Maintain Stillwater's quality of life

STILLWATER, Okla. — As city leaders ponder expenses and weigh services in this time of budget reductions, we ask them to remember it’s not only infrastructure but quality of life that encourages people to call our community home.

We appreciate Mayor Nathan Bates’ diligence in asking for an accounting of how many people use city programs and centers. We agree those numbers need to be considered when councilors vote on a budget.

Just as important is consideration of the value of our library, pool, community center, senior center, multi-arts center and other amenities to the overall Stillwater living experience.

Gov. Brad Henry this spring signed into law the Certified Retirement Communities Program Act, a bill by our local legislators Sen. Jim Halligan and Rep. Cory Williams.

Senate Bill 1640 directs the Department of Commerce to, according to the state website, “develop a certification to recognize communities that have created conditions favorable to retirees and that would attract older residents and tourists by offering favorable tax provisions, health and safety improvements, public transportation, community services and activities, etc.”

While public centers like the library and multi-arts have programs for all ages, our seniors, older adults, retirees are more likely to have the discretionary time to seek out the services of these community jewels.

Quality cities don’t go into the business of book lending, leisure activities or the arts to make money.

Offering life amenities – from greenbelt parks to pottery classes and live entertainment – to residents and visitors draws users who then spend money at our restaurants, our retail shops, our vibrant downtown and other attractions.

They, like the rest of us, visit, fall in love with Stillwater and then they make our home their home.

The sales tax they pay bolsters the city’s revenue. There’s the adage you have to spend money to make money. In this case our city leaders should remember we have to offer services to draw people who spend money.

This recession won’t last forever. When we bounce back – and we will with gusto – our quality of life needs to be intact.

 

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