Editorial: Effectiveness in the quiet of a moment

Jun. 12, 2013 @ 07:20 PM

Henderson voters gave a ringing endorsement at Monday’s city council meeting.

What wasn’t said was a clear message to the council — it is OK to raise our taxes.

The evening included four public hearings. The chambers on Rose Avenue swelled with about two dozen. Leading off the evening was a public hearing for the fiscal year 2014 budget.

Five speakers addressed the council. Not one mentioned taxes or fees increases.

What they did mention had a common theme — investment.

All who spoke have key positions within the framework of our city, and their main emphasis was on the Downtown Development Commission. In short, they want it to stay and not be stricken or slashed on a tight budget.

In a consensus budget presentation through four work sessions, the city council had decided to not fund the DDC, saving $53,400. With limited public pressure to hold the line on taxes and fees, the council in Tuesday’s work session was able to keep the DDC intact. Whether it was lack of speakers against taxes or speakers for the DDC that made the difference is subject to debate.

The argument to keep the DDC makes sense. Henderson’s downtown needs help, all it can get. And, by the end of the calendar year 2014, a schedule for the performing arts center in Breckenridge Commons should be full.

Having qualified city staff completely devoted to developing downtown is only a start. There’s more to it.

Decisions from the council need to foster more investment to downtown. Business owners in the district need to be stepping forward as well, coming together for the good of everyone. Benchmarks and standards can be set for appearances. Goals, realistically driven and systematically implemented, can shape the desires of owners and shoppers.

A smart and active approach is necessary.

Meanwhile, our real estate taxes will be rising. Our sanitation fee increase got a free pass. And city savings will take a hit.

At least, that’s what the people said was OK when given a chance on Monday night. The silence spoke volumes. The council, once splintered and worrying, got a green light.

And perhaps in the aftermath, we’ll see how being quiet is effective.