Unfortunate to dim Christmas lights

This week has been a phenomenal time for Christmas news in Marion, with art, entertainment, and a parade, not to mention popular home tours raising money for Marion City Library, a food drive collecting $1,100 worth of food for Marion County Emergency Food Bank, and the Tunnel of Lights attracting about 1,300 people to Marion County Lake.

We wish all news could be so positive, but even the Christmas season isn’t immune from bad news and curious decisions. We wish Marion City Council hadn’t decided Nov. 26 to eliminate its long-standing incentive for residents to make the town a more festive place for holiday events and shopping. Eliminating the $9 to $10 credit on electric bills may not immediately result in fewer Christmas decorations around town. And maybe a few people abused the system to get a credit without really decorating. But the credit had a purpose.

We don’t begrudge city employees their due, but canceling the credit and saying it will be used for bonuses and raises for city employees sends the wrong message. That money wasn’t originally appropriated so the council could give a Christmas gift to employees. It was appropriated to improve the city’s Christmas spirit. If the credit isn’t needed to encourage decorations, that doesn’t mean it should go into the pool for raises.

Marion County Commission voted Friday to give employees raises and bonuses, but it didn’t cancel other programs to do so.

— ADAM STEWART

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