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The population of Meeker is getting older, and the younger generations have to leave to find work.
As the city’s population gets older, it gets smaller and poorer.
Compare school enrollment to population. In 1980, Meeker High School had enough students enrolled to be AA, about 250, and the population was around 1,500. Now, the high school enrollment is down to single A and the city population is more than 2,800.
As the population gets older, more people are living on limited budgets. With these limited budgets more people need social assistance. Social assistance comes from taxes paid by people who own property and people who run businesses. Also, with limited budgets there is an increase in mortgage delinquency and foreclosures. More properties become vacant, abandoned and unkempt because property owners are unable to make needed repairs.
Once real estate begins to show lack of maintenance, stronger incomes will go elsewhere, which results in more decline, which pushes stronger incomes away—and on and on.
In Meeker, more businesses are closing than opening. With a drive down Main Street, we see “signature” buildings standing vacant.
Prospective investors and business owners hate to see local buildings standing vacant because it makes their town look bad.
Town trustees recently had an opportunity to add a new business.
It appears, the town trustees rejected the business based on emotional misinformation and opinions from only one group.
The town trustees have a responsibility and obligation to serve the whole community; not just one group.
The town trustees have a responsibility to be forward-thinking in their decisions not just for tomorrow or next year but also for future generations. Not for their own interests or the self-interest of specific organizations, but the interests of the whole community and the future of that community.
The daunting reality is that enormously important decisions made by intelligent, responsible people without the best information and intentions are and will be hopelessly flawed. In America, a city is like a business. If you go out of business you just weren’t doing a very good job.
After talking to Mayor Regas Halandras, I found out that he is in favor of any new business. Because of this support, he is now experiencing attacks on his personal character. Some of those attacks have been slanderous.
Socrates said it best, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
I hope the next time the town trustees get a chance to vote on a new business they have the strength and courage to vote for the future of Meeker. That downtown is starting to look like a dying town.