I spoke at Monday's meeting about the importance of a village having a healthy quality of life in addition to having a healthy balance sheet. Amberley articulated this philosophy of government in the documents that were incorporated into the Long Range Plan, specifically the Vision Pillars for Amberley Village. The three Pillars -- environment, economy, and community -- are mutually supporting. As Council members, it is important for us to consider all three aspects of the Pillars, and to maintain a healthy balance between all three. So, when someone asks, "why are you accepting a grant from We Thrive!?" or "Why don't you spend more time parsing the budget and less time thinking about gardens and walking paths?" the answer is that in order to be a healthy, vibrant community where people want to move to and live, we need to focus on both. Of course, we could choose to buy a house here and never leave except to drive to our jobs in another community entirely, but I would guess that most of us would prefer to interact with our neighbors and look to our neighborhood amenities with a source of pride. Imagine you were trying to convince someone to move to Amberley. What features would you point to that make Amberley Village stand out from any other place? Why did you move here yourself? What is it that makes Amberley an attractive place to live? What is so special about Amberley that encourages so many of our residents who grew up here to move back here -- sometimes moving right back into the house where they were raised?
To that end, there will be a 10 mil Police Levy on the March 6th ballot. The last time Village residents voted on a property tax increase was in 1955. This is practically unprecedented in local government, but sadly, we cannot continue the trend. Our police and fire services, though run in an efficient, streamlined manner that is the envy of all other local fire departments, still consumes 50% of our Village budget. For more information on the levy and its impact on your own financial situation, please read the Village E-News where Manager Scot Lahrmer does an excellent job of explaining the levy in relation to the Village's financial situation.
JCC Early Childhood School has passed the We Thrive! Child Care Initiative. This is great news! Since Amberley is at the forefront of the We Thrive! movement, it only strengthens our commitment to fostering a healthy, active community when agencies within our Village share the same values.
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