Timing is Key
So the Hanover tax hike went through. I didn’t make it to the final meeting because of the weather, and I appreciated that council had taken the late look at things and trimmed the tax increase with promises to look at things even further this year.
Part of me wishes I had gone so I could see the angry folks who had passed on the opportunity to attend a number of previous meetings and actually make a difference, but decided to show up at the last minute with irrational hopes of getting their demands. And then they blamed council for not listening to them and engaged in a righteous indignation contest.
The reality is that some of the ideas they proposed – looking at garbage service particularly – make sense for council to consider. But when you show up five days before the budget must be approved and expect them to do exactly as you bid, you have just lost touch with reality. Where was this outrage at the finance committee the week prior? Or the council meeting two weeks before? Or any of the other meetings since the news broke in early November?
As I have said about this and many other things, it’s a lot easier to complain, call people names and blame than it is to work within the system. Demanding everything and seeing compromise as some sort of weakness has become the national pastime for some. Staff and council didn’t wait until Dec. 26 to start preparing the budget so I don’t know why anyone would reasonably expect them to make massive changes to borough programs at that time.
So now we’re in 2013 with the promise of a fresh look at what the borough does, how it does it and how we pay for it. I take them at their word that this will happen and hope it happens with transparency and expeditiously.
In the meantime, let’s not buy into the hype that a 25 percent tax hike is the death knell for Hanover Borough. While everyone – and that certainly includes council members – wanted a smaller or no tax hike, no one can expect things to stay a certain way for ever. That includes people who own businesses and buy houses.
Even though I don’t own a business, decisions have to come down to more than the tax rate. I have seen a few businesses open their doors in Hanover over the past few weeks and saw two more hearing announcements in the paper for people planning on hanging up their shingle in Hanover.
So maybe some people see benefit in the services provided by the borough and realize that, while it’s not fun to pay more taxes, that’s part of doing business. Or living where you want in the case of homeowners. That’s certainly where I stand. I like knowing the guys who work for the borough will help pick up our leaves, but I want to make sure it’s done as economically as possible.
This doesn’t mean we should just sit back and accept whatever our municipal leaders say, but we also shouldn’t just show up when we’re mad and complain if they don’t do what we want. Be part of the solution and accept the fact that we all might have to meet in the middle in order to find the best solution for all 15,000 or so of us. And we can’t wait until the last minute.