67.The following appeared in a letter to the editor of a newspaper serving
the villages of Castorville and Polluxton.
"Both the villages of Castorville and Polluxton have experienced sharp declines in the numbers of residents who pay property taxes. To save money and improve service, the two villages recently merged their once separate garbage collection departments into a single department located in Castorville, and the new department has reported few complaints about its service. Last year the library in Polluxton had 20 percent fewer users than during the previous year. It follows that we should now further economize and improve service, as we did with garbage collection, by closing the library in Polluxton and using the library in Castorville to serve both villages."
In this argument the author concludes that in order to further economize and improve service it is necessary to close the library in Polluxton and using the library in Castorville to serve both villages. To support this recommendation, the author points out that the recent successful combination of these two villages' garbage collection departments into a single department. Close scrutiny of this argument however reveals that it is logically flawed in a number of respects.
To begin with, the author unfairly assumes that the two villages' sharp declines in the number of residents who pay property taxes are the symbol of the total amount of property taxes. It is entirely possible that even if the number of residents of paying property taxes is declining, the amount of tax fees are not decreasing or even increase because of the increasing tax fees of average residents. Without considering and ruling out this possibility, it is unfairly to assume the sharp declines of property tax fees.
In addition, no evidence is offered to substantiate that the money declines after the combination of these two garbage collection departments. The author merely assumes that two separate garbage collection departments merged into a single one must save money spent on trash collection. Perhaps the building of the new garbage collection cost a large amount of money. Lacking such evidence, the author's evidence that the combination of the two trash collection is effective in saving money is incredible.
Besides, the author unjustifiable assumes that few complaints reported are the indication that residents are satisfactory with the new department. There is an entire possibility that the problems have not exposed due to the short periods. Or perhaps the administration department has not reported the complaints from the residents. Moreover it is highly possible that even if some people do not satisfy the new service, they are unwilling to report. Any of these scenarios, if true, would serve to undermine the author's claims that few complains are reported about the new department.
What is more, the decline of library using last year does not represent the trend of this year and the following years in library using. It is just as likely that the library in Polluxton has increased users recently. Even if assuming that the trend of the decline of library users is true, perhaps the population of Polluxton in library using after the 20% decline is still more than the number of library users of Castorville. If this is the case, closing the Polluxton's library is incorrect.
Finally the author fails to provide evidence to demonstrate closing the Polluxton's library could contribute to economize and improve service. The author commits a false analogy between the trash collection department and the library without considering the important function of library. Library is the collection of books and other informational materials available for residents to read, study or reference. If closing the library in Polluxton, it might be inconvenient for residents to look up information. Therefore different functions and different possible problems could not merely resolve in the same approach absent of consideration in the foregoing possibilities.
In summary, the evidence the author provided lends little support to the author's conclusion. To strengthen it, the author should further provide the condition of using of these two libraries and the feasibility of the combination of the libraries. To better evaluate it, we need to know the information that whether the combination of new department is effective and the proposal of the new library according to the characteristics.
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