If you have lived, for any amount of time, in Rexburg, you know parking is a pain. Especially with student housing. The city of Rexburg recently passed an ordinance permitting housing complexes to cut back on available parking.
Ordinance 1143 allows apartments a minimum of .75 parking spaces per resident.
With already limited parking, one wonders why such an ordinance would pass. Well, it may be that students did not voice their concerns. This and a multitude of other ordinances could have been changed if students spoke up.
Everything from what restaurants are allowed in the city limits to where students can park are all decided by the city and the laws they put in place.
To make it worse, this group of officials was not elected by the majority of the population. Students make up around two-thirds of the population of Rexburg, according to the BYU-Idaho director of Public Affairs. But, because students are constantly moving in and out every semester, many of them are not able to vote in local elections.
Because of this, it is up to students, to be hyper vigilant in being aware and voicing our needs. We have to make it known that we deserve a say in what happens in this city.
Even though we do not have a direct hand in electing our local officials, BYU-I plays a large role in the affairs of the city.
Brett Sampson, the University Public Affairs director, is the liaison between BYU-I and the city. He attends city council and planning and zoning meetings as well as other meetings.
“I go to these meetings and either have agenda items that I bring to the table or bring back to the university any items that arise,” Sampson said of his job. “Then we determine different people on campus who are specifically, or directly, involved in some of those issues, like the housing office, admissions or the health center.”
He said they have worked with the city, for example, to put in a stop light on the corner by the Ivy that will go up this spring.
While this is all well and good, and it is a certainty the student body is one of the school’s highest priorities, we still need to take a much more active role in voicing our concerns and needs.
Scroll can give students information they need to become active in local government. While making the effort to be informed on one more thing seems difficult, think about what kind of impact it could have on student life.
Because of the ever-growing student population, enormous amounts of money are constantly injected into the local economy. Money we spend on entertainment, food and housing, one way or another, ends up in the hands of local government.
Sampson said most taxes making it back to the city come from property tax.
Think of all the apartment buildings in Rexburg, think of how more and more students keep enrolling, creating the demand for more apartment buildings. All of those property taxes are paid through what you pay in rent.
Students have the power to have a huge effect on where all that tax money goes and how it is spent. It is great to have someone who is meant to be our advocate, but who better to take care of us than ourselves?
Rest assured, Rexburg officials want to work with the students. They want students to be involved.
“I would like to see students be interested in our political decisions and give us your input and be active in voting,” said Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill. “You are citizens of Rexburg, too, and we are interested in what you think.”
How many of you have been frustrated with having to drive all the way to Idaho Falls to take a date for a nice dinner? Sure, we have places to eat here, but there is a reason Applebee’s sits just on the outskirts of town.
An ordinance passed by a public vote in 1947, prohibits the sale of hard liquor, according to Blair Kay, the Rexburg city clerk.
While not drinking hard liquor isn’t likely a big issue for the majority BYU-I students, it makes it impossible for many sit-down restaurants to come within the city limits.
How about having to take the shuttle or drive all the way out to Wal-Mart? Again, it was decisions made by the city that prevented it from building within the city limits, according to Local News 8.
We, the Scroll staff, pledge to bring you the information you need to make a difference in the lives of your fellow students if you will but take the time to get informed and take action.