I personally take a neutral position on gambling. I believe this is a personal issue and those who wish to boycott casinos surely have a right to do that. It may be unfortunate that Lakewood’s revenues have some reliance on casino revenue but that is an economic reality. After all they are legitimate business ventures and from the data that has been made available, they have been good neighbors. Nevertheless, public debate is healthy and should be encouraged.
What is not healthy for our City is the budget reductions that will follow banning casinos. Virtually hundreds of families in Lakewood will suffer in some way from having vital programs eliminated or reduced. Unfortunately most of these people are those who need the services most, our poor, elderly, handicapped, children etc. Lakewood’s Human Services funding is critical to a myriad of services that those in need depend on. The slightest reduction in these funds will have negative impact. Elimination of these funds will have serious repercussions. Don’t think only Human Services funding will be reduced or eliminated. Neighborhood policing, victim advocacy, recreation programs, code enforcement and other critical programs will be on the chopping block as well.
I am not recommending that citizens vote for or against the casino issue. I write this only to encourage our citizens to take the time to study the matter and understand what will happen if the City of Lakewood is forced to adopt a budget that excludes casino revenues. It will affect all of us in some way.
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