“Ay, here her tattered ensign down! Long has it waved on high, And many an eye has danced to see That banner in the sky.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Surely this is a quote the citizens of Shady Cove can relate to; for it’s a safe bet to say the seasonal flags throughout town are admired by all and a point of pride with citizens. However, between vandalism and unresolved budget issues within city council folks eyes may not be dancing much longer (Note: for a history of the vandalism and city hall concerns see past issues of the Upper Rogue Independent; Feb. 22, Sept. 20, Sept. 27 & Oct. 11. To view online go to: http://www.urindependent.com/).
In an interview on Oct. 14th Boosters president John Burgess spoke about council’s recent denial of the Boosters request for $800.00 for the flag program this fiscal year. To back track a bit: in Feb. 2010 Burgess advised the council that three different businesses are involved in the making of the flags. In previous years City Hall would cut separate checks to each business. Burgess proposed that if the city could advance the Boosters $800 they would happily deal directly with the three businesses saving time for Boosters and City Hall alike. Council agreed and the money was given directly to the Boosters.
When creating the budget for the new fiscal year council and the budget committee discussed listing that $800 as a line item, but it did not happen at budget time and there has been ongoing discussion/controversy about what events/groups the city will donate to in 10/11. Further Councilor Gary Hughes has vowed to vote “no” on all requests until council lives up to its promise to itself to set a policy for same. To date council has not reached a decision. Enter Burgess in Fall 2010: due to the recent vandalism of several flags the Boosters put in their request for money earlier than anticipated – and were caught in the ongoing council debate on such donations. Regarding the denial of funds Burgess states, “I believe the Boosters are being used as a pawn in an internal city dilemma.” Burgess noted he philosophically understands Hughes’ stance; sometimes such positions must be taken, but he feels it unfair that the Boosters and moreover the citizens, should pay via potential loss of the flags.
For now the Boosters will spend their entire budget to assure the next set of flags can go up – beyond that set Burgess is unsure of the flag program’s future as they have relied on and received the city’s aid for the six years the program has been in existence.
By Christy Pitto
Of the Independent