April 24, 2014

EDITORIAL: Citizens can make a difference

It doesn’t take power or cash to make a difference. Sometimes a little information can do the trick.

Such is the case in Prairie Village where elected officials are blushing at the cost of dinners and travels billed to the residents.

Jori Nelson, a concerned resident, requested travel and expense information about the city council and mayor . She wasn’t too happy with what she found.

She told Fox4 Kansas City that she spent hours collecting information and tracking Prairie Village’s travel expenses for the last 10 years.

What she discovered doesn’t make her happy.

The community’s city administrator said the city budgeted $42,800 for just such expenses and only spent $29,500 on council meals and travel in 2010.

She said that includes hundreds in airfare, hotels and food.

“Fine dining at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse; at the Capitol Grill, to have $600 meals and alcohol,” she told the television station. “It is just not OK and it’s got to stop.”

Because of her diligence, city officials are investigating the matter and plan to release a report to the public this week.

We salute citizens like Jori Nelson who take an interest and the time to uncover the mysteries of where tax dollars disappear.

This community has its own share of concerned citizens who dig through public records trying to root out corruption and save taxpayer dollars. One local citizen dug through countless county tax appraisals and found more than $150,000 in school tax dollars that were left on the table when a large corporation was billed with a larger tax abatement than was actually approved.

For their trouble, these concerned citizens are often labeled as trouble makers and cast aside. And that’s too bad.

They’re saving the taxpayers money and holding government officials accountable.

It’s called good citizenship, and we owe them our gratitude.

Comments

  1. Apathy of the people will bring you lousy government and high taxes and other adverse affects. Citizens need to start doing their jobs and not by spreading the lies and the hate like the recall did – you even have one of those recall sponsors running for City Council, another candidate was a major contributor to the recall and others who supported these actions such as Mayor Drovetta. Another principal of the recall committee hasn’t paid his full property taxes since I believe it is 2005, the last I checked, to help meet the needs of the community and yet comes up with over $500 for a hate and lie campaign. And the recall committee has still not been forthcoming since they stand by with anonymous donations – they very well know who made those anonymous donations in my opinion.

    You then have elected officials who are condoning and supporting investors, developers, builders, etc. who are getting by with having their land appraised and assessed as farm land which is no more true than a man in the moon. Your city is supporting these people with benefit districts, sweet deals of all kinds, etc. And this fraud taking place is costing honest, hardworking citizens millions and millions of lost tax revenue that the citizens so need at all times, whether it be the good times or the bad times.

    Every citizen can make a difference but there are those in the community who want to keep their cronyism and status quo government and will fight daily to put down those concerned citizens who want to make a difference. I am just hoping one of these days decent citizens start to speak out against the wrongdoing and start making better choices in the voting booth.

    Citizens have the final responsibility of what their community will be – it can be one based on a foundation of stone and strong moral values or a foundation based on sand which shifts and finally falls because of dirty, rotten politics.

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