Recently, the city issued a restriction on property owners with tall weeds on their property and if they were not cut down, a fine would be issued. What a great idea.
However, many of these properties are subject to fireworks that either torch their property or surrounding areas. We have gone through two-plus summers now with a smoke-filled valley, activities being canceled and health problems. Fireworks just add to the problem.
Lets ban the sale and use of fireworks within the city limits and for those who continue to light them up, fine them. Take the family to the planned legal and safe ones put on by the professionals.
Also, as the owner of a dog, and I am sure a lot of you reading this are, please take consideration of our four-legged pals who panic at this time. Thunderstorm noise we cannot control, but if we all join in together and get some control of this issue, perhaps we can have a healthy summer. Remember the Gorge fire last year? We do not need that in our lovely valley.
Ashland power rates
The Ashland City Council recently approved a 6.18 percent increase in our monthly electrical bill. This comes on top of a 6 percent increase in 2017 and further increases in utility taxes, surcharges and fees also set for July.
While understandable if there were a pass-through rate increase from the company providing our power, most of the hike was for staff pay and benefits, according to Tom McBartlett, Electric Department interim director.
Charging more for the same services you presently provide to pay yourself more would be considered unacceptable by most communities. What’s even more troubling is McBartlett’s response when asked what the department would do if the council didn’t approve the rate hike. He said capital improvement projects would be delayed or cut. Which raises the question: are there nonessential projects in the budget?
A more responsible approach is to demand the department take another look at managing operations and personnel to their budget and identify sources of inefficiency. The total annual compensation in this department averages $155,000 per person.
Asking citizens to pay more for needed city services sometimes can’t be avoided, but justifying a rate hike to pay more for staff already incredibly well compensated is unacceptable.
The slippery slope
I saw the Mail Tribune article “Group wants ban on painful training,” and have to say I absolutely disagree with Commissioner Colleen Roberts’ “slippery slope” argument against banning the use of painful training and punishment devices for elephants, primates, big cats and bears.
If as a county we are not committed to stopping animal cruelty, then what next? What other types of cruelty might we be willing to ignore in the future? Not to enact this animal training ban is the slippery slope, commissioner.