Battle lines are being drawn over the city budget. The cutters and their voting supporters are clamoring for lean and mean; their opponents are hoping to maintain a flourishing culture in Homer. This is a tired, old story, isn’t it?
Let’s look at the cutters’ proposals for the Homer Library. One cutter suggests we use the massive number of library volunteers to run it, another simply notes it costs a lot and thus should be cut. (With 10,000 citizens through per month and the tonnage of individual items being handled, this would work every bit as well as having volunteers run the airport. Or City Hall. One might suspect the councilmen with these cutting ideas hadn’t finished their research before making their proposals.)
Homer Library might be the one best thing we do in Homer. Homer Library serves thousands of us every week, winning awards for excellent service. Our library has hundreds of volunteers helping offer those services because they see the value of those programs. This year members of our community checked out more than 130,000 books, media and multi media materials.
One-hundred thirty thousand. Consider that number. That’s a lot of reading, listening and seeing — a lot of learning and thinking — going on here in Homer. Quite a bank for our library buck.
So do we deserve excellence here? Do we continue to feed our culture that makes us unique and uniquely successful? Are we willing to fund what’s best for our kids and for ourselves?
Just how poor is Homer, anyway?
And how much must we impoverish ourselves?
State cuts to municipal assistance are a shame but easy to fix. We could simply do what most other tourist towns do and charge a bed tax. This is easy math. Bed renters here use our roads, our water, our power, our sewer system and we just subsidized them with cheap, natural gas. They could show some respect for our contribution and let us tax their guests like most places do.
I taught kids for decades and see children — our future — as key to these discussions. Do our children deserve excellent opportunities to grow and to learn? Do we adults deserve the same? Is our community worth it?