Dave Wallace: Budgeting for community development
Domestic disputes are not necessarily the result of drugs and alcohol; these confrontations will take place, regardless. Though it is a well-documented fact that the influence of alcohol contributes to poor judgment and can accelerate a mild disagreement into a physical assault and addiction to drugs frequently leads to criminal activity. This leads me to another concern: What is actually being done locally to reduce the presence of substance abuse?
This issue has surfaced in Craig City Council meetings several times in the past and one council member’s response was, “It’s not just Craig; every community has substance abuse problems.”
Well, I live in this community, and I would like to see our community take measures to discourage this behavior. I have noticed that practically every time we have a community event, there is a request for a liquor or beer permit. Why is it every time this request comes before the City Council, it gets approved? I have yet to see any council members vote against these requests. Is the presence of alcohol necessary at these community events? We have establishments in our community that offer a social environment with available alcohol. These businesses also have an age limit and restrictions on youngsters. Let us identify and reduce the conditions that contribute to criminal activity rather than deal with the crime. I believe the reduction of drug and alcohol abuse within our community will lead to favorable results.
Referring to the website city-data.com, I see the greatest percentage of local crimes are theft. The most recent level, reported for 2016, stands at 83 percent according the site. This level is greater than any of the previous 13 years. Now, I ask you, where should our priorities be?
I believe we have a very fine law enforcement department, and it has my total support. Though I don’t believe officers have the opportunity to focus on and give their undivided attention to the community’s greatest issues due to a large portion of their time being spent “chasing the dog” to coin a figure of speech. Our officers spend a considerable amount of time answering calls that could be avoided if residents were aware and complied with our local ordinances.
I have asked the City Council several times to be proactive and make the community aware of these ordinances through press notifications and local signage; These requests have been ignored. There should be stiff penalties in place that discourage individuals from breaking local laws. These laws are necessary to maintain order and discipline within the community. The hand slap needs to be replaced with a pinch of the wallet; this is what gets one’s attention, and this is what will drive results. Our law enforcement officers’ focus should be on the thief who’s casing the neighborhood rather than the dog that’s sniffing out the city park.
As we finish up 2017 and move into the new year I hope our local government and management team will take on a proactive approach to community issues, identifying and addressing the cause rather than reactively having to deal with the effect.
Economic Development, which has become a local buzzword, is only one area necessary for a successful and attractive community. Hopefully, with the additional funding that will become available this next year, we can address issues that are in the best interest of the entire community and move forward with a plan for greater community development.
That said, I hope everybody closes out 2017 with a Merry Christmas and safe holiday season.
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