The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Ken Turnage II:
To The Antioch Community,
There is a lot in our City that needs to be changed, corrected and improved. As a City we passed Measure W to help with making these changes. There was nothing set in stone on how this money is to be spent. It is directly up to the 5 people that have been voted into office to make these decisions. They will do what is voiced by the people hopefully.
When setting a budget at home you prioritize what you are going to spend your money on to make sure you can sustain your well being. The first thing you do is make sure you secure your home, this is basically the equivalent of the Police Force their job is to secure the City, Secondly you make sure your house is clean and healthy this is Code Enforcement, their job is to make sure our City is clean and being taken care of. Third in line is your Vehicle and groceries, these are the Employees they are the ones that drive the City give the City fuel also it makes sure we can continue to work and make the first two things happen. Then when those items are taken care of you have your fun, these are your programs different things that can be done as activities, sometimes you don’t have much fun because the first 3 things take up all the money, and that is where our City is right now.
We have a 20 year tax that is to help bring this City back to a safe, clean, driveable, fun City. You can’t do all that with one paycheck at home how can you expect to do all that with one year of a tax for a City. Each budget these percentages of what this tax is used for can change. When you get the house secure and clean well then you have a little extra money for fun. Once the City is Secure and Clean then we have higher property values which increases property tax, more visitors come this increases sales tax , which increases the City’s General Fund which increases or ability to pay for fun. If you spend the money on fun first or in the City’s case programs, you never get the house secure, never get it clean then you never get the extra money from having it done.
Yes I know we need to have things for youths to do, but I know before they have things to do, they need a safe clean place to do them in. Our City Budget should be a very heavy sided to Police and Code Enforcement, I know it already is. Our Police Department has passed the worst part of their attrition of having Officers retire out. The Police Department is younger there are many more net gain with Officer’s with even more to come if they have the funding because the recruits are now there and the future projected retirements are low. Code enforcement staff needs to be doubled, they spend the vast majority of their time with homeless issues which are necessary. We need staff that can also address blight and direct violations.
As a community we should demand these items:
- 124 Police Officers
- A full time Traffic Division our intersections are dangerous
- 16 Community Service Officers
- 10 Code enforcement Officers
- 4 Code Enforcement Laborers just picking up City Debris
These are minimums a City our size should have, until these levels are planned for and budgeted we should not be budgeting for fun and for programs. Would you plan a trip if your house wasn’t secured, clean and sustained already?
As a community, we need to speak up, we need to tell the people that we voted in we deserve a clean safe City then we have that, we can all have some fun. Write to the Council Members, show up to the Council Meetings, Show up to the budget meetings but most importantly don’t remain silent!