Letter To The Editor: After Watching the City Council/Mayoral Forum
Editors Note: The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are not necessarily the views or opinions of Oskaloosa News.
Oskaloosa, Iowa – After watching the city Council/Mayoral forum and I’ve come up with some questions. What are we trying to fix? What are we trying to “Take Back Our City” from? What is the “Solution”…or more so, the solution to what problem?
The current Council is a well-oiled machine. We have a high caliber Mayor and Council. We have a CFO and Vice Presidents of some of our largest employers, in addition to a long time teacher/resident who wears her love and commitment to Oskaloosa on her sleeve, and we had a new comer with a bright future ahead of him. It was abundantly clear their business and decision making abilities are second to none.
Oskaloosa is arguably in the best financial position it’s been in… in generations. The property tax rate has been cut 8.6%. The unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the area. I was very impressed with the current council’s approach to our roads. They used technology to help prioritize the reconstruction, saving the tax payer $$. Best of all, we are at the lowest debt level in decades. WE HAVE VERY LITTLE DEBT. We are under 20% of debt capacity. I remember when it was up over 70%.
Aesthetically, Oskaloosa looks better that it has in years. In Oskaloosa we can be proud of our Town Square, our Historic Bandstand, the downtown streetscape, the Iowa Building, the Trolley Place, The Skate Park, the Recreation Trail, the William Penn PAC, the new dorms at William Penn, and the Lacey Complex. To add to that, we have CRI and the ability for me to watch the forum in the comfort of my home…. live on TV. All great projects that have improved this great town and all are helping make Oskaloosa a destination place.
It is very disappointing the other candidates did not participate in the forum. If you are going to be a community leader, you have to show up. These five people: Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt, Doug Yates, Scottie Moore, Tom Walling, and Wyatt Russell all showed up willing to field any question asked by any person. Putting yourself out there to be judged for an hour and a half is a nerve racking experience and I think they all did an exceptional job during the forum.
The tactic of avoiding tough questions by candidates and elected officials is concerning. It is unfortunate that we have congressmen setting forums but limiting the scope of the discussion. Now we have local candidates doing the same thing…. Disappointing. It’s very telling, should they ever take office. It has to make residents question who will they see, who won’t they see; who will they talk to, who won’t they talk to; what will they talk about, what won’t they? It doesn’t leave a good impression on me. Putting yourself out there and answering the tough questions in friendly venues and unfriendly venues is a big part of the job. Not doing that, but rather choosing who you will talk to, when and where, causes me to pause, and think… What are we trying to fix?
Why would we break up the current effective team? It doesn’t make sense to me. I will be voting for Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt, Tom Walling, Scottie Moore, and I would encourage you in the respective wards to vote for Doug Yates, and Aaron VerSteeg. Wyatt Russell, you have really impressed me. You have a bright future. I just do not understand why we would break up an effective veteran team that has done so much for this town. , Respectfully submitted by Tom Rielly