If a person were truly honest with themselves every time they bought something they would ask, "Am I getting my money's worth?" If the person selling would truly be honest with themselves they might ask, "Have I met or exceeded my customers' expectations?"
The parallel with everyday life and government expectations is that there is no parallel — they are the same. But we often tend to treat them as polar opposites. We often talk of government as somebody else's problems and, like young children, we tend to look toward someone else to make it all better. In reality we are the adults. If apathy and incompetence were any measure of Ottumwans' expectations of our local government, then it's highly possible we have attained our goals.
Some candidates running for public office fashion themselves as sound decision makers who access data and execute a sound business plan. Promises of a better tomorrow through past accomplishments only distort the facts. The real litmus test is to drive around town and look around and ask yourself how the town looks. Where are the opportunities for middle class jobs to support a town this size and how are the streets? Drive down Mary Street between Shaul Avenue and Ferry Street. Drive down Quincey Avenue towards Albia Road and our new Main Street. Do the neighbor hoods look well kept and are people remodeling and building new? Are there diverse manufacturing jobs?
Regardless of what prospective incumbents say, it takes more than government to make a community prosperous. Great business leaders working with common sense aggressive local government, along with citizens' pride, go a long way. The next time we all write a check or pay the rent for our property taxes, we can all ask “Are we getting our moneys worth?”
Ottumwa is a good town, but it can be a great town. It’s all up to you.