Lawton Needs To Elect Poor Citizens To The City Council
Who doesn't enjoy returning home from vacation and learning about a giant, regressive increase the city just levied onto your water bill? Once again the elected leadership in Lawton is choosing what is easy over what is right. "Just tack it onto the water bill." When will this toxic culture end?
Locally, our government of elected elites that remain solidly out of touch with the median Lawton family can do absolutely nothing about the current state of rising inflation. Also, due to that inflation, as fuel and manufacturing prices continue to rise globally, it's understandable that they need to find money to pay for civil services like water and refuse, parks and rec, and streets (one of these days...) but they've gone about it the wrong way once again.
In times of financial crisis, Lawton always seems to default on charging the already struggling citizens for more of their shrinking income. The claim is that the city doesn't want to go into debt, but how many times has the city willingly gone into debt through CIP (capital improvements programs) and other bonds promising they'll redo our crumbling streets only to slip a metaphorical banana in the 'ole tailpipe to buy a depleted mall?
What's worse is, even after things return to normal down the road, you can bet this 15% rate hike won't be coming off every Lawtonians water bill. It's just the new normal thrust like a dagger into the wallets of anyone within city limits.
Just like the parks crisis, instead of jumping to rash, simpleton conclusions, why didn't the city council first think of cutting costs somewhere else? There's no shortage of superfluous spending they could be shrinking these days.
Why didn't anyone think to cut services like they did our trash pickup for the same reason? Desperate times call for desperate measures, but what can you really expect from a collection of individuals that don't normally have to do without?
Across the board, whether it's a local, state, or federal election cycle, running for office takes a lot of money. They advertise everywhere they can, radio, tv, internet, yard signs, billboards, etc... It all costs insane amounts of money. This is why almost every town in America is run by (mostly) local business owners.
It's important to note that's not every single case of local politicians, but the overwhelming majority of them are well-off enough that they have little to no understanding of the average citizens' daily financial struggle.
The median income for your average Lawton citizen is roughly $25,000 per year. When was the last time a city councilor or mayor took office with even the slightest understanding of what that dollar amount equates in the sense of living in a military town?
Perhaps if we, the citizens that hold all of the power, put out collective emphasis on electing politicians from "median Lawton," things like this massive 15% increase wouldn't so easily come to fruition. It's far easier than fleeing the city to the county or the surrounding towns.
For the record, most municipalities are being forced to raise costs for their citizens. As I said, in this political climate of unprecedented rampant inflation, cities must adapt... That being said, most are making it a play on longevity. Making smaller, more frequent changes to financials over the course of years rather than just stealing it out of their citizens' wallets in one heaving take.
Economically, things will eventually return to normal levels. They always do. Let's not forget to remind the council to cut that 15% back off when the time comes.
Lawton has had enough politicians, what it needs most now are leaders.