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Growing up in a Midwest neighborhood in the 1960s gave me a strong sense of community and a fierce sense of loyalty to that community.I lived in a suburban neighborhood in a mid-size town in northern Indiana – one that overflowed with kids from the World War II generation. It was a simpler time, a safer era and a period in our history when individual responsibility meant taking care of every individual on the block.In our neighborhood, every mom was responsible for every kid. Every dad was responsible for every kid. Everyone was responsible for the widow down the street. Everyone was responsible for the older couple who needed their lawn mowed or a sack of groceries. It was a real community.Today, a community looks different. The baby boom generation and those who followed no longer remain tied to their roots – we’ve become a transient society. So, how do we find a sense of community?I looked up the definition of community in the dictionary. Here is Webster’s first take: “the people living together in the same district, city, etc. under the same laws.” I guess the United States is a community.Webster’s No. 4 definition is “a group of people living together and having interests, work, etc. in common.” Narrowing it down, Webster adds definitions No. 6 and No. 7: “ownership or participation in common; similarity, likeness: as, a community of spirit.”I like the latter of Webster’s definitions, but here’s mine: adopting the land and all the people (animals and wildlife, too) who live and work in a particular geographical area and making a collective effort to create the best place to live.In addition, I think community is parallel to a sense of pride. It’s about feeling safe. It’s about feeling connected. It’s about loyalty, protection and the common good, and helping when disaster strikes.The rest of America was devastated when the aircrafts hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, but the geographical area – the Manhattan community – felt the impact for days, weeks and months, with a force known only to them.Tragedy is not what builds a community. People build a community.A few people in Falcon are trying to do just that, and they’ve been challenged for sure.Art Van Sant and Jean Woolsey decided last year to go out on a limb and research the possibilities of incorporating Falcon.We all know Falcon is a geographical area with a diverse population, from the rancher to the wannabe cowboy to the real cowboy to the people whose idea of country living is a big deck with a George Foreman grill and a view of the prairie and the mountains.And then there are those of us who had nowhere else to hide. (Just kidding.)Would any of the above be interested in adopting Falcon as a real city?Incorporating is kind of like an official adoption. You take on the responsibility of your “area” and all of the individuals, businesses and organizations, and you pledge to love it, maintain it and protect it forever (or until you move).However, the idea of pledging allegiance to Falcon has had a naysayer here and there. One individual, who doesn’t live in the geographical area – the current proposed boundaries, has expressed (loudly) some concerns (apparently his latest concern is that the “city of Falcon,” should it happen, could someday seize his own backyard). Not really.No matter the opinions, operating a city takes money.County Commissioner Douglas Bruce said there isn’t enough of a commercial tax base to support the approximate $2 million city-of-Falcon budget (final budget figures from the committee are not in yet).”Safeway is the biggest dollar volume but groceries are exempt so they can’t be factored in,” Bruce said. And he is not so sure that $2 million is adequate to operate the city. Regardless, Bruce said Falcon residents would be paying the same level of county taxes without receiving county services.Bruce also said Falcon residents wouldn’t “benefit” from some of the county services, like county planning (I think some might argue the word benefit), the road department (no offense, but the shocks on my jeep are about shot from my washboard road), or the sheriff’s patrol (we might get further with Andy Griffith and Barney Fife).”It (incorporation) doesn’t pencil out, to put it mildly,” Bruce said.However, Van Sant is still penciling it in. He said the grocery tax is an option -not at automatic exemption. Van Sant said 84 percent of all communities in Colorado tax groceries. “It’s not set in stone,” he said.Dispelling half-truths and finding the correct answers to the questions has been a formidable task for committee members, but they are working daily to present the hard facts to the Falcon residents in the coming weeks.Presenting a precise city budget is imperative. “We will have definite proof (of what is needed in revenue), and it will be authenticated,” Van Sant said. The ballot initiative states that all future tax increases related to the city would have to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the people. Van Sant said there is no other city in Colorado with that stipulation.The incorporation committee has proposed a Falcon Bill of Rights (see ad in this issue), which lists reasons for incorporating. I love the “Bill of Rights.” It’s kind of like the Constitution for our own little town.Planning for future growth (controlling growth), alleviating the threat of a Colorado Springs annexation, securing ample protection (safety and fire) and initiating a water board are among the reasons listed in the Bill of Rights for incorporating Falcon. I think those are good reasons.Another great reason to officially adopt the little town on the prairie is that Falcon will have a face – listed among U.S. cities, and eligible for awards like the “best small town east of the Mississippi.”But the best reason of all to adopt Falcon as an incorporated city is to create community, to create a sense of pride and loyalty, to savor our own individuality as a town while making certain that our own individuals are protected and cared for.ml@jazzwireless.net

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