Solve the Open Space Fee Issue

Roughly 25% of Highland’s population lives in Open Space neighborhoods and pays a fee of $20 per month.

This fee covers most of the cost to maintain the parks and trails in those neighborhoods.

Many of these residents think they are paying too high a fee to maintain parks and trails available for use by the entire city (that they paid to donate to the city when they bought their homes), and nearly all think the open spaces in their neighborhoods are not appropriately maintained — often turning into little more than expanses of wild weeds.

Many residents outside these neighborhoods think the Open Space communities agreed to pay the fee when purchasing their homes, that these homeowners have the benefit of open spaces in their neighborhoods, and that they are able to pay less to maintain smaller lots because of this open space.

It appears to me that everybody is right.

It also appears to me that this issue is dividing our city. We need to solve it.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m pretty confident I know the path to that answer. We need to come together as a city — Open Space residents and non-Open Space residents — and have a real discussion about the issue. And then we need to find a compromise.

Compromise is something of a dirty word in today’s America, but it’s the very thing that built America.

In the near future we’ll need to have some hard discussions about the health of our General Fund. This needs to be part of those discussions.

If you want to close your eyes and pretend this problem doesn’t exist, do not vote for me. I think this is a critical problem in Highland, and it’s one I’m committed to addressing if elected.