Everyone has opinions and elbowsBy Jason Cannon Published 6:21pm Friday, December 9, 2011
In September I penned a column expressing my opinion about the city reprioritizing a significant portion of the budget.
It was unpopular – to say the least – mainly with the occupants of Sunset Road and the Demopolis Fire Department.
I’ll not rehash the opinion in its entirety, but essentially I wrote that the city would be better served putting on hold the renovation of the downtown fire station and the paving of Sunset Road.
The council did neither. So much for what I think.
I bore the brunt of a brief letter campaign from a handful of residents on Sunset Road.
They are entitled to their opinion, just as I am to mine. I had no problem with the project (and still don’t), simply questioned its cost and its timing.
Our opinions don’t have to jive but we can all still speak at the grocery store.
Ultimately, the residents’ of Sunset Road had their patience and bull-doggedness pay off. It looks like construction and asphalt is on the way.
Mitchell Congress, their representative, argued their point week after week after week and was finally able to push it though.
The Fire Department felt disrespected that I would suggest their problems with the downtown station be ignored. To be fair, I never said to let them go, just to address them in a different manner. One of the suggestions I made was to further explore the USDA loan/grant, which is what is in the works.
This solution seems like it’s best for all. It gets the fire department the work they need done, and it saves the city some money. It may not be a win-win depending on your opinion of the situation, but it’s pretty close.
Again. They stayed after it, as did their council representation – Thomas Moore – and it looks like those repairs and renovations are in the works.
A lot of debate took place about the budget; some in public, some on Facebook, some at the “coffee drinking clubs” and the barber shop.
Some agree with how things have transpired and some don’t.
Again, that’s your opinion and you’re certainly entitled to it. In the end, it is what it is.
Mayor Mike Grayson issued a pretty stern informal guarantee at the council’s meeting this week; that despite the council passing a deficit budget, the city would not operate at a deficit.
Considering Grayson’s own estimate puts that deficit at about $40,000, there’s some serious headway to make with only nine months left in the fiscal year. That’s roughly $4,500 per month that needs to be addressed almost immediately.
Where do you find cash like that? Lots of places. But all those places are inconvenient.
The “low hanging fruit” has long-since been plucked.
What’s left can only be reached by tough decisions and bootstrapping to aggressive levels.
The remainder of this fiscal year, and likely at least the next one, is going to be tight.
Watching it unfold will be worth monitoring.
Jason Cannon is publisher of the Demopolis Times.