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Friday, March 10, 2006

Michael Roberts: The problem with no growth

Editor,

My name is Michael Roberts. I am currently the mayor of Elkhorn and I am running for re-election. My opponent has been recently quoted in the Elkhorn Independent saying that if he becomes mayor, he will halt all growth in Elkhorn.

Let's explore the consequences of his policy. First, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled on many occasions that a municipality cannot simply decide to halt growth without specific rationale, documentation and policies--standards that Elkhorn will have difficulty meeting.

Second, our school district operates in a financial environment where revenues from tax levies may increase 2.1 percent per year (excluding referenda), while expenses increase at twice this rate.

My opponent knows that no growth will harm the schools. Additional students result in additional state revenues, which enable our schools to pay their bills.

Third, the pending TABOR legislation in Wisconsin will put Elkhorn in the same financial predicament as the schools. Some growth will be necessary to the city to continue to provide the required services to our residents.

Yes, we have seen substantial growth recently. These subdivisions were approved inn the 1990s. We cannot stop what was previously approved. During the past four years, we have worked on a Smart Growth policy to enable the city to define and balance growth in the future.

We believe the city is now poised to have balanced, responsible growth for the future.

As for the assertion that the growth will result in increased taxes for services, we have been able to reduce our cost of government per resident during the past several years. In fact, over the last seven years, the city tax on the average home has increased about 1 percent per year--one of the lowest rates of increase in the state.

Finally, my opponent says he want to accomplish tow things: halt growth and attract large retailers.

Do you really think retailers will come to Elkhorn if we tell them that we will not allow any growth, which is necessary to make their business viable?

Michael J. Roberts, incumbent
Candidate for Elkhorn mayor


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