Author Topic: Wake-up! Has A (Lengthy) Gripe  (Read 51 times)

Offline Wake-up!

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Wake-up! Has A (Lengthy) Gripe
« on: September 30, 2019, 05:48:10 pm »
Oh, shinola . . . . another one. A complaint, not colic, and certainly not trivial in his opinion.

He just heard that the Elk Valley School District wants to buy (has already purchased?) the local motel in Longton for a campus? For a dormitory? For what net benefit to the community?

His gripe is not about the aim of a few in the school district to promote a new program. The gripe is that a (relatively) valuable piece of private property would be moved into public hands, the hands of a school district.

That action has a domino effect throughout the community and the County. The City loses a bit of its tax base. That puts a (further) burden on taxpayers. The school district will ultimately need a bond to subsidize the district’s new program (school programs always need additional taxpayer funds, in spite of what school districts claim. When bonds expire, new ones always seem to crop up). That need, unless defeated by voters, adds to the taxpayer burden, again. And City and/or County may lose a small business tax.

With the motel gone, has ANYONE considered where seasonal hunters will go for the night? Montgomery County? And where will the few that choose to use what is left of the motel laundromat go? Montgomery County? And those folks will not be spending their money in Elk County.

And therein is Wake-up!’s gripe. The erosion continues as more and more local income, available to spend in the retail and service markets, is leaving the County and the City. And that is destroying the rural culture (has destroyed may be more apt). And expanding public services is the culprit in the erosion.

The school district’s failure to mandate that employees of the district actually live in the district exacerbates the problem. In other words the district should be hiring locally. I do not know how the numbers on that may shake out. That is not his point.

His point is; taxpayers sacrifice to support a public facility. The employees of that public facility should be spending that same money back into the community. That is how communities thrive, a healthy marketplace has dollars continuously turn over in the community rather than leave it. When public employees drive out of town at 3:30 (or whatever time) without stopping at the store, the gas station, the liquor store, or a restaurant, the rural culture suffers. When the public employees do not own property in the community, the rural culture suffers. When some of the newest vehicles driven here for work are not purchased here, and taxed and licensed here, the rural culture suffers.

Yes, we are far down that road. Elk County has very few retailers or services to offer. Proof of that is certainly reflected in the continual decline in population. It is also reflected in Wichita State’s Gap Analyses that show something like 83% of dollars available to spend locally, go elsewhere (in the retail sector). We can’t buy cars here, nor clothes. Medical and dental services are hardly local. The list of ‘not available’ is already long. Public institutions centralize funds, and that moves money away from rural areas.

For rural America to survive the trend must be reversed. Dollars earned in a community need to circulate in that community. Making the motel a public entity will not do that. It will do the opposite. It will add to the tax burden. It may tip the balance and make the pizza parlor less than marginally viable. It may put the restaurant into red ink. It may cause bank accounts to close. It may reduce the grocery and liquor stores’ profit margins to a point of imbalance.

Is the school district tasked to consider the potential economic impact associated with purchase of the motel? I doubt it? Should they be? Yes. Do they have a plan to put money into the community to mitigate the economic loses? Ten additional kids enrolled in an ag program for a heavily indebted industry that is already relatively saturated with labor and technical skills does not promise to help this community in any way, other than maintain the status quo which is already a downward spiral economically and demographically.

Reversing the erosion trend is not a simple process. But one heck of a good start is to stop the growth of public spending. Wake-up! is not knocking an accelerated ag program. But he will ask, if public money is being spent on that program, why is public money NOT (first or already) supporting a small business incubator where people of all ages are shown skills and pathways to develop marketable products and open their own businesses, businesses that will add to the community’s coffers and culture. Businesses that may even encourage others to move to the small rural communities like Longton.

We need that motel as much as we need the gas station, the grocery store, the bank, the liquor store, and the restaurant(s). We need all of those more than we need more public ‘ownership’ and spending.

And what will happen when the high school closes its doors in 2021 and the taxpayer is left with vacant school buildings and a vacant former motel, neither of which may have any future utility?



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Offline redcliffsw

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Re: Wake-up! Has A (Lengthy) Gripe
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2019, 02:20:14 pm »

And what will happen when the high school closes its doors in 2021 and the taxpayer is left with vacant school buildings and a vacant former motel, neither of which may have any future utility?


Good question.

Nowadays, School Superintendents are promoters, not educators.  They're looking to their next job - an advancement for their self.

I've stayed overnight in the motel a few times.  The motel ought to remain as private property, not in government ownership.