Who benefits from Tier 1 services?



Editor, Index-Tribune

I applaud City Council’s vote to help Tier 1 nonprofits who made their annual pitch for public funds.

Curiously, however, there was little or no attempt to quantify the proportion of benefit from those organizations flowing to city residents, who are the constituents to whom Council is primarily accountable and who have the first (if not only) right to benefit from money in City coffers.

To be sure, no city is or should be an island, but one gets the impression that, while receiving an undeniable but unknown portion of benefit from the good work of these non-profits, it is city residents who are the only ones contributing public money.

Are the County and other public entities in the Valley doing their share to help these nonprofits? Of public money flowing to the nonprofits, what percent comes from the City? Even greater largess might be justified if city residents had a better idea of how much they were benefiting versus how much burden they were carrying for the rest of the Valley.

Roughly 25 percent of the Valley population lives in the city. But what percentage of kids served by the Boys & Girls Club live in the city? What portion of the SEC budget funds projects in the city limits? Of those using the Sonoma Community Center and Vintage House, what percent live in the city? Of nonprofit staff funded with help of city donations, what portion are city residents? Based on these and similar measures, should the City’s contribution be more, or less?

Like water, public money is scarce. Sharing benefits and allocating burdens will always be a legitimate topic of discussion.

Bob Edwards



  • Dee Test

    This letter is referencing a situation of “unfairness” with regards to “city” boundaries and economic proportionality of responsibilities. Unfortunately, it does not address the reality that the vast majority of low-income workers who serve the “city” live outside the city limits, and those non-profits that are serving the low-income workers (and their families) are ultimately allowing the city to continue to benefit from all that cheap labor. If the “city” residents want to distance themselves from the economic responsibilities of the adjacent communities, then perhaps they would like to provide a large increase in low-income housing, within the city boundaries. (Perhaps over on the “east side”, where there is still a lot of space for such developments.)

  • Fred Allebach

    The Valley could use to be one municipality from the Springs down to Hwy 121, this would enfranchise all citizens here to be able to vote and pay taxes within a common sphere of influence. The inevitability of development that goes along with annexation has to be balanced by the benefits of enfranchisement and efficient, relevant delivery of services, and giving citizens a real voice and vote in their own affairs. One thing’s for sure, having one distant county representative is not enough for Valley residents outside the city. The city is the natural core for voters and taxpayers here. It would be fair all the way around the make the whole south Valley one municipality.