A group called “Advance Aiken” just used a dishonest push poll (a poll designed to get a predetermined answer) to gauge public opinion on the Revitalization Plan for downtown being pushed by the Aiken City Council and the Chamber of Commerce.
Appropriate questions to have been asked would have been:
Do you believe that we need more housing downtown for millennials financed by public-private partnerships?
Do you want a wider variety of businesses in downtown?
Do you want a public-financed parking garage in downtown ?
These are questions that City Manager John Klimm said in a recent meeting were widely supported by city residents. The facts are that these are only the opinions of council and the chamber. The chamber, for instance, has never been against any tax increase or increase in city spending in my recollection.
All this in the light of the announced plan to borrow more than $26 million to begin the long overdue replacement and maintenance of our water, sewer and stormwater systems.
The reason they are in this shape is that water and sewer fees have been kept artificially low for more than 20 years for political reasons – that is, to get council members re-elected.
This ploy is being used again by the rush of the council to borrow money instead of raising rates for users who have enjoyed rates kept too low for more than 20 years. Again, the inevitable rise in water, sewer and stormwater rates is being pushed off to the future for the next set of council members to deal with.
How could the push poll responders ever have responded that the city is going the right direction considering what is actually happening?
Thomas N. Dean