Changed Minds

There’s another really good letter to the editor in today’s Oak Ridger, from a couple who signed the referendum petition but subsequently changed their minds.  It’s worth repeating:

We signed a petition some weeks ago to call for a bond referendum vote on the Crestpointe proposal. We did so because we resented the clearing of the land of its trees a few years ago and because we thought, albeit naively, that the proposal would be too expensive for us as taxpayers. However, we have reconsidered our opinion and will vote FOR the Crestpointe bond. Why?

Our city services are among the best anywhere. We enjoy backdoor garbage pick-up, rapid-response fire department, accessible police protection, reliable utility service, and high quality schools. We have competent administrators who are efficient at managing expenses in their respective departments with regards toward the tax paying public. However, these services require a solid financial foundation to fund inherent increases in operation expenses. These excellent services are supported primarily by our property tax and by local sales tax revenue.

Since we all wish for our property tax to remain low and we want to maintain our city services at the levels to which we are accustomed, then we must do everything we can to promote retail sales in Oak Ridge. We will not get many opportunities like the Crestpointe proposal to attract a national retail store to anchor another major shopping center in our community.

Some say that the timing is not right; that our community cannot support another major retail center at this time. As non-business folks who do not have a vested interest in retail, we are sure the research team for Target has studied this issue thoroughly. They are convinced that an investment in our community is a sound business venture and that Target and other retailers can make it work on Crestpointe at this time. When sales are profitable for Target, it will benefit us as Oak Ridgers.

Some say that our city leaders might have problems negotiating a contract with “big time” developers. Having recently become aware of all the safeguards that are being built into the Crestpointe contract, we believe our city staff and local leaders have learned from their previous experiences. They are negotiating a package that ensures local money would not be spent on site development until signed contracts are in hand and until the developers have made a large commitment themselves to our community.

Regarding the environmental eyesore that the land has become to our community, it can never be reclaimed to what it once was. Therefore, we should seize this opportunity to “make lemonade out of lemons” and move on.

For these reasons and more, we will be voting in favor of the Crestpointe bond referendum and we urge others, whether they signed the petition or not, to vote for it as well.

Michael and

Barbara Bundy

Oak Ridge

I admit to being surprised that any educator would have signed the petition, but I’ve resisted the urge to make an issue of it.  Quite simply, a substantial portion of education revenues are derived from sales taxes, so it’s in the best interest of those of us interested in better education funding to support efforts to increase retail sales volume in Oak Ridge.

I’m glad that Mike and Barbara have come to the conclusion they ultimately reached, and hope that they are joined by many others whose names appear on that list.


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