The Oct. 1 Tribune headline read “Atascadero falls millions short of meeting its share of the Wal-Mart project.” This news, coupled with the city’s initiative to raise the sales tax by a half-cent and a council-approved $470,000 project to remove more soil from Atascadero Lake, should give residents pause when contemplating our future and how the city obligates our tax dollars.
Expect finger pointing and speechifying to continue as to the whys and wherefores. Do not expect what is really necessary here — the voice of leadership saying let’s reevaluate the facts and options of the situation and then determine a more viable solution for all. Options cover the gamut of cancelling the project and accepting losses to obligating other sourced money and facing increased payback in the future for those loans.
Atascadero is characterized as a bedroom community primarily with residents at fixed income levels. Increasing the bite on current incomes is not a viable option, now or in the future. The current economic base, lacking in diversity and tax revenue, will not support any tax increase to meet the shortfall, let alone repaving roads. City leadership, whatever your decision is this time around, arrive at it in a more responsible, informed manner.