Friday, November 4, 2011

Vote or risk consequences

With city elections next Tuesday, voters should take their responsibility to become informed citizens very seriously.

As the election grows closer, interest has increased. City residents shouldn't blow off the election as some kind of unimportant, off-year sideshow.

With the Sun Valley area embroiled in economic, infrastructure and marketing issues, healthy voter turnout is key to getting majorities in each city to agree on the leaders who will navigate the rough roads ahead.

Non-presidential elections commonly attract fewer voters, which may be something that advocates for a change in Ketchum's form of government may be counting on. In this critical question, low turnout could put in place a city-manager system that voters would have no way to change for at least six years. The change could stop economic headway for the foreseeable future—not a happy outcome.

Low turnout could leave Hailey with a ban on plastic bags that will increase grocery costs, inconvenience visitors and still not achieve the kind of environmental improvement being sought by the student organizers of the ban.

Voters will also decide whether to allow Sun Valley to fix roads and fire equipment, Bellevue to update a fire truck and buy a fire house, and Ketchum to continue to levy a 1 percent resort city sales tax.

They're big questions that deserve thoughtful consideration by voters who should beware of the unintended consequences of not voting. Every vote counts, especially in small communities like ours where contested elections commonly are won and lost by very small margins.

Tuesday is no day to stay home.

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