Hold that line

As You See It

To the Editor:

When I was first elected mayor of Plymouth six years ago, I knew we had to change the way we were doing business, and it wouldn’t be easy. At the time, we were taking out loans to make loan payments and taxing to the limit to get by. Even then, we were coming up short, because any added revenue went to increased costs for employee health insurance and pension. We couldn’t even afford to replace old vehicles. Something had to change.

We immediately put the brakes on the borrowing. Our debt service has dropped from almost $1 million per year to about $600,000. This year, we balanced our budget with no borrowing and zero tax levy increase. Instead of taking $100,000 out of reserves, we put $100,000 back in, but we couldn’t have done it without help.

Gov. Scott Walker’s reforms gave us the opportunity to do what is best for our community. Instead of decreasing services for our citizens, we now have options to increase services. We now have choices that we did not have before.

City employees are now making contributions to pensions and health insurance premiums. This is a positive change because it helps us to avoid layoffs and budget cuts. The last thing we want to do is see our hard-working employees lose their jobs. To their credit, most of our employees see the big picture, and they have approached the change a positive attitude, and I commend them for that.

Perhaps the best part of the change is yet to come. We are seeing a renewed spirit from our business community. When we hold the line on taxes and keep our spending in check, it allows us to invest in infrastructure and utilities, which gives them more confidence to grow and expand. That leads to job creation and increased revenues from an expanded tax base, which means more money for us to spend on services and our workforce.

Positive change begins with a vision. My vision has always been to make sure our wonderful community provides opportunities for our young people, including my son, your son, and your daughter; to live here, work here and raise a family here. That is the direction we are headed. Now, our future is brighter.

Mayor Don Pohlman, city of Plymouth

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