We each want what we want, so how can we get along …

My first car didn’t come with air conditioning. I never gave it another thought, until one hot, humid day, and that car was history. I now realize, that ever since that moment, my next car has had a new feature that I can’t live without. First it was the clock, temperature gauge and the compass, then it was the heated seats. I am never giving those up. Then it is the backup camera and blind side monitoring. I didn’t even want those features, too distracting I thought. But now, I just don’t want to drive a car without them. I now have a heated steering wheel, I thought that’s just unnecessary ….. people wear your gloves. But it was part of the package, and you know, I do like it. This is how it starts and is true about so many areas of our life.

Benefits and Burdens is a common term used to assess whether an individual who benefits from a service or activity is the one who also bears the burden. Or in other words the burden of receiving a governmental service that benefits you and your family is usually a tax or fee in some form or another. What services we want government to provide, like my taste in cars, has grown over time. Like recycling or bulky item drop-off, for example, is a relatively new service as far as services go, but is by far one of our most popular.

Your local government provides several services 24/7/365 days/year, while others are provided on a very limited basis. Even on those days when you decide to stay in and binge watch your favorite show, you can put ice cubes in your drink, and flush the toilet. On your worst day, we will be there to ease your pain. Some days we are takers while the rest are givers, but rest assured, not everyone wants the service you can’t live without.

It’s a fair debate about what services are necessary versus services that are just wants. Look around your community, some neighbors like the order of a community and its rules and cut their grass and otherwise keep their property in good order. But, some neighbors seem to have different priorities; sometimes your neighbor just needs help and other times there just isn’t a good reason why their property is not maintained.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, former Justice of the United States Supreme Court, said, “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.”


At the local governmental level, you can walk into city hall and speak to someone about your service and ask questions, express concerns and offer suggestions, and maybe learn why something is being done the way it is.

I know for certain, I appreciate that there are rules that afford public input in the process before decisions are finalized; I appreciate that journalists provide the checks and balances to ensure the public’s interest is respected, and while I appreciate so much about our high tech world, I don’t appreciate the level of misinformation presented.

Do you know someone who is building up your community? It is your neighbor, and that business that you love to use and it is all of the volunteers who help make our community special. It also includes our city employees who are proud of their community and the work they do.