Archive for Thursday, March 11, 2004

More on Habitat house

March 11, 2004

It's good to see that the humanitarian-minded side of Baldwin City has spoken regarding the Habitat for Humanity issue that came before the city council last week.

In a 3-2 vote, the city council said no to giving Habitat a break on the costs of hooking up to city utilities for a home to be built here for a Baldwin family. Council members Ted Brecheisen Jr., Nancy Brown and Ken Wagner voted to not give the break. Tony Brown and Amy Cleavinger wanted to reduce the fees.

The hookup fees amount to around $4,100. T. Brown and Cleavinger wanted to at least reduce the fees to the actual cost of around $1,725. That seems, at least, fair enough.

But, that motion didn't fly.

Instead, the majority voted for no break at all. The trio stood firm that the city shouldn't hand out "charity" from the public coffers, because all taxpayers might not wish to contribute. It's hard to argue with that. As the decision stands now, Habitat for Humanity will have to pay the entire $4,100 hook up fee.

Many in attendance at the meeting were outraged by the decision. Many others have joined that chorus. Community wide fund-raising efforts are underway to not only defray the costs of the hook up, but the project in general.

That's good to see and it's not surprising. Baldwin has always taken care of its own and that's the case with the first Habitat home to be built in the city. A local family will be the recipient.

Would it be too much of a stretch to expect the city of Baldwin to do the same? Couldn't the difference between actual cost and what's charged for the hook up be waived?

The decision was made based on community input to several council members. That input happened to be negative. Those in favor need to make their feelings known, too.

Then, just maybe, the vote could be revisited. It's not set in stone, yet. Let's hope it's not too late to make this situation right.

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