Board didn't answer budget questions
Recently the Advocate reported on the Southern Door District's annual meeting. The article focused on the board's loss of a relative pittance per diem, but no mention was made of the community's repeated comments and questions on budget and deficit issues.
Comments from the public included such things as:
? Lack of general community understanding how the total deficit presented in the meeting remains at minus-$490,000. Projected deficit as of April was minus-$700,000. Subsequent offsets reported include significant budget cuts ($540,000 reported at May board meeting) and state approval of $150/student (approx $172,000).
? Disappointment in the board decision to spend $40,000 in optional food service salary, plus another $40,000 in benefits, while cutting freshman sports.
? Budget cuts appear to be primarily associated with loss of education-related programs, and increased fees to be primarily additional costs assessed to the students.
? The budget includes $62,000 for fitness center cameras, but cameras for Elementary and Middle School were cut.
? Questioning the need and payback for $27,000 auditorium speaker enhancements included in budget.
? The perception that cuts have been made which directly impact student education, while non-essential spending continues.
The board did not respond. Administration explained that part of the deficit is in flux due to open enrollment details yet to be finalized.
A majority of voters did not support last year's referendum and decided the district should operate within existing revenue limits. The annual meeting's preliminary budget did not demonstrate "living within our means."
Another referendum campaign will no doubt be the proposed solution for the forecasted continual slide into growing deficit. Before we open our checkbooks any further, our taxpayers are entitled to be confident that fiscally responsible decisions are occurring, and have transparency into budget and deficit information. In God We Trust, all others bring data.
Bicycle debate is overblown
As a biker, I don't understand the big-city hoopla about the bike situation on Michigan Street.
When you're going west on Michigan, you travel with the traffic, close to the curb, and do just the opposite when you're going east dodging parked cars on each side of the street.
Sturgeon Bay is a small town; why take on big-city problems with sharrows?
Sometimes, I don't think Sturgeon Bay wants to be a big city anyway - take the empty buildings on Egg Harbor road for an example.
Also, as a biker I like the use of the sidewalk, too.
A walk to stop hunger
Now more than ever, my congregation and I would like to invite everyone in Door County to join us for a brisk walk that will be good for your heart, physically and spiritually. This Saturday morning, Oct. 5, we will be walking in the Sturgeon Bay CROP Hunger Walk.
The CROP Hunger Walk is a really great community event - an opportunity for everyone to show that they really care about fighting hunger and poverty, aiding refugees, and contributing to the vital self-help development programs for which Church World Service has been known for more than 64 years. Church World Service is working around the world, but 25 percent of what we raise by walking will go to local food pantries to help our neighbors right here in Door County.
Our morning of CROP Walking will help families tap into new sources of clean water and enable families to grow more and better food, and assist communities working to recover from storms in parts of the United States.
Please, come CROP Hunger Walk with us. Registration is at 9 a.m. and walking will begin by 9:30 a.m. from HOPE Church, 141 S. 12th Ave., Sturgeon Bay. Volunteer, sponsor a walker, or work those muscles with your own congregation or group. Use the Web to be part of the CROP Hunger Walk. Visit www.cropwalk.org to find out more. It really will make a world of difference. And can't we all use a little more exercise?
For more information, please contact me, Cal Holvenstot, at (920) 743-1089 or visit www.cropwalk.org.
Hope United Church of Christ