Q: Why does the Riley County government services website imply that country living Riley County residents are “parasites?”
A: The “Moving to the Country: Riley County Guide to Rural Living,” created by Riley County Planning and Development, outlines considerations those wanting to move to the country should think about beforehand, including available services, accessibility, land restrictions and more.
Under the “government services” section, the guide says the amount of tax collected from country dwellers is not enough to cover the cost of services provided to rural residents, and the difference is made up by city residents, which is why the level of services in rural areas is less.
“Those living in the city subsidize the lifestyle of those who live in the country by making up the shortfall between the cost of services and the revenues received from rural dwellers,” the guide says.
Monty Wedel, planning and special projects director for the department, said it was not the department’s intention to make rural dwellers feel lesser.
He said staff would work on reworking the language and overall guide immediately.
“Although the paragraph was not intended to imply that rural residents are a burden, it is understandable the paragraph could be interpreted that way,” he said. “The basic intent of the paragraph was to highlight the fact that rural development costs more due to the amount of road miles to be maintained and the distances involved in providing services such as police, fire, emergency management, medical services, school bussing, etc. There have been numerous studies conducted throughout the United States that support this fact.
“The main purpose of the paragraph was to inform potential rural residents that some services may not be immediate because of the distances involved. We agree the paragraph should be reworded for clarity and we will do so. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
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