Stalemate over city budget frustrating

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Tribune editorial staff

The wheels of city government in Ironton just keep spinning, but the scenery never seems to change.

After weeks of budgeting changes and compromises back a few months ago during the original budgeting process, lately the city has been lost in a forest of indecision. At issue is how to dig out of a budget hole and how best to chop down an impending labor strike before the first picket sign appears.

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Residents have packed the council chambers to offer their opinions. At most of the meetings, the overwhelming majority of those present seemed to favor a $10 municipal fee. It was an almost unheard of event - residents showing up to support giving government more money.

Yet, somehow, the city leadership cannot agree on the issue, or even agree to work out a compromise.

Amazingly, the word "compromise" seems to have been removed from the official city vocabulary. It's black or white, no discussion. Both sides seem to think the other is a local "axis of evil," following President Bush's war on terror cry.

At the very least, the continuing stalemate over which budgetary trail in the woods to follow has been frustrating. At most, it has been a severe waste of time.

Where would the city be today if a compromise had been hammered out quickly? Would we be closer to bringing a new business to town? Would we have a better start on redeveloping downtown?

Sadly, we'll never know since, once lost, time can never be regained.

One councilman recently said in passing, "I don't know what we should do. Maybe we need the Wizard of Oz to come down."

If memory serves us correctly, in L. Frank Baum's much fabled book, the Wizard doled out four things: Courage for the lion, a heart for the tin man, a brain for the scarecrow and a trip home for Dorothy.

Hmm, courage, heart and brains, all things we seem to be a little short on in the debate - or the "not debate" as the case may be - so who needs a gift from uncle Oz?

Well, if the wheels keep spinning with no forward movement, the voters might be playing the part of the Wizard soon and vowing to send a few folks back over the rainbow.