Dear editor,

Reality has hit us hard. As agenda 2030 indicates, “You’ll Own Nothing, And Be Happy” is becoming reality for us. The new 2024 assessment on our (Wausau) home has increased 79.73 percent.

I feel like the stress level of maintaining living has gone off the charts. I can’t seem to catch my breath. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut and run over by a convoy. How do you fight city hall/county/state/federal. How do you fight the foolish government spending? Yes, a few years ago we had to replace the siding on our home. It was over 60 years old and so deteriorated, it was a necessary replacement. Yes, we also had to upgrade the electrical so that we could plug in a vacuum cleaner and turn a light on at the same time. Yet, we have been severely penalized for trying to maintain a home. We’ve done nothing extra to “upgrade” our home. No additional living space, no decks or fancy improvements.

The 1448 square feet is what we have and what we make due with. These are not upgrades, they were needed replacements. Our home was built in the mid-1800s. The basement walls still leak and are so brittle. The ‘concrete’ holding the stacked stone together is so brittle it is continually falling to the floor due to the old field stone foundation. Much of our basement walls are bare stone. To add to our problem, our homeowners insurance wants us to replace the roof that still has a decade of life in it. We have been trying to polish a turd but the efforts are not as they appear. Some of the outside of our home looks nice due to the new siding put on a few years ago, but it only covers up the problems we still face on a daily basis. Our outside walls are not fully insulated. Some of those walls have no insulation, or crumbled up newspaper and crumbled paper bags because that is what they did back then. Our inside walls have no insulation. We have severe carpenter ant damage too. We keep our thermostat at 66 degrees in the winter time and have no air conditioning. We live a simple life or at least try to. I feel like I have no fight left in me. I am so disgusted, I just feel like walking away from it all.

The city has authorized a decorative fence for the police department. A cost of more than $100,000 more for the decorative feature. One has to ask, is a fence necessary for “security”. Maybe. Does it have to be decorative? Absolutely not! If Longfellow neighborhood wants decorative, let them pay for the difference of the cost. But whatever WPD wants, they seem to get. Contractors, builders, etc. if they want it, they get it, too.

We’ve spent well over $1 million on the homeless problem and it is only getting worse. They are filtering into all neighborhoods which is creating a huge concern for taxpayers. Safety is a concern. That tells us that what you are doing is not working. We have a new mayor who has ideas on how to do things differently. I ask you to give him a chance. The citizens of Wausau elected a new mayor for a reason. It’s obvious that what has been done in the past is moving Wausau in the wrong direction. We need to do something different. Put aside any differences with Mayor Diny if you have them and work with him to try to change the course of Wausau. You never know, it may surprise you to see something different work.

The city has authorized two additional officers for the homeless problem downtown. Necessary? Maybe. Maybe not. We can’t even get our neighborhood police liaison to come to the meetings on a regular basis. The communication is nonexistent as of late. Yes, this is a big deal for our neighborhood group for us. Obviously not for WPD.

Now the public library would like the taxpayers to foot the bill for a security guard just for the library itself. What the heck, that’s not going to solve the problem! What is a security guard going to do? Nothing. Wausau has a homeless population who, sad to say, is growing and taking over.

The tail is wagging the dog or better yet the inmates are running the asylum. In all honesty, the kid gloves need to come off. The city/county needs to show the problematic people who are homeless that we have ZERO tolerance for this behavior. I mean “ZERO”! These individuals show no respect to our community. They don’t care. That is evident. They trash and destroy public & private property, they urinate and defecate anywhere and everywhere they want, they harass, they panhandle, they do whatever they want. The judicial system is broken and has been broken for a long time. It boils down to: crime pays. There are no penalties like there use to be. They have no boundaries because they are not enforced. We have laws and ordinances, how about enforcing them. These individuals need to move on. Show them where the city/county limits are. You will only get out of them what you expect from them. Nothing more. Don’t think I am cold hearted person, I’m not. There are individuals who fell on hard times and need a hand up, absolutely we should give them a hand up. But those that are continually wanting a hand out – that should not be encouraged or embraced. By doing so, you are feeding a cancer. I am curious as to what happened to the five adults who came to Wausau from Chicago with a U-Haul because they didn’t like their landlord. Were they told to go back to Chicago where they came from?

The parks department has grand plans for more. How about taking care of what we already have. Here in Forest Park the historical stone shelter’s roof is rotting away. It goes on the report every year. The neighborhood inspects the park through the Adopt-A-Park program. It won’t be long and the historical stone building will be junk. The river walk has a lot of things that still need to be fixed. They can’t seem to keep up with repairs of the continual vandalism that happens all the time. It seems like a constant waste of taxpayer dollars to fix things that will be destroyed by vandalism a short time later.

Tell me, how does it feel to want? My husband and I want to. We want a simple life with simple reasonable expectations of living a good (not lavish) life in retirement. Every single time our government wants something, they take. They take because of the long practice of legalized plunder from the taxpayers. When is it going to stop? When is government going to realize that every time they make a decision to spend it takes away from the taxpayer?

My husband and I are not wealthy people by any stretch of the imagination. We have penny-pinched all our working lives to save to be able to live a life in retirement where we have the ability to pay our bills. We planned a budget and we stick to a budget. We strive to live within our means. We have cut every corner possible that we can think of. When we fully retired last fall, we had a retirement budget planned with a little wiggle room for inflation. With the new 2024 assessment numbers now revealed, that 79.73 percent increase, our wiggle room is exhausted and blown out of the water to where we, for the first time in our more than three decades of marriage, will not be able to meet our budget. We did not expect that kind of a financial impact to hit us. This literally knocks us off our feet. Why, because the government, at all levels, can’t stop spending. This needs to stop. If you think that you have a homeless problem now, your spend thrift actions at all the government levels will create a homeless population that will explode into a problem that will be irreparable.

I ask you to stop and think before you approve any monies for anything. Government was never meant to fulfill all the wants of society. They are to meet the needs of basic community expenses. Please use common sense with every single vote you make for financial expenditure. We, as private citizens, do not have the luxury of picking other peoples pockets if we want to buy something. They would, I’m sure, tell us to “Go fly a kite and to go without.”

Marie Schmidt of Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email [email protected] or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.