As a resident and business person in our community I must express my concern over an upcoming budget decision. I'm very concerned about the busing contract possibly being awarded to a business not located in our community. I respect the enormous task of balancing this year's budget. However, I urge you take a look at the bigger picture and the effect this could have on the economic stability of our whole community and what it could do to the school's and the city's future budgets.
Peterson Bus employs 75 people -- that is 75 paychecks or $25,000-plus handed out every two weeks to folks living here and spending their money here. Those jobs represent 75 bank accounts, 75 insurance policies, 75 people buying groceries, buying gas, gifts and making trips to restaurants. We have businesses struggling now; imagine if we lose more jobs. If we lose businesses and services, how will we attract new residents, new businesses and new students?
Peterson Bus is part of our tax base and a vested member of our community for over 46 years, supporting and donating to many things, including a scholarship, donations to post-prom and Community Youth Services, to name a few. If Peterson Bus is no longer here, what do we lose next? The grocery store? Hardware store?
At this fragile economic time we need to do everything we can to support our local businesses to keep our residents employed and keep our community thriving. We all need to try a little harder to do business locally whenever possible. Now more than ever, this has great importance if we want a healthy community. I urge you to not balance this budget with a temporary solution such as this that will only hurt our whole community down the road. I am sure that a fair contract can be reached with Peterson Bus/Russell's Bus Service that will be good for both parties.
If you share my concerns, please voice them by contacting the newspaper, contacting Paul Carlson and the school board members privately. Or attend the next meeting on Feb. 23. Listening hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and the meeting at 6:30 p.m.