Council must look at cuts, other revenue

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ironton's leadership soon will include several new faces but they will unfortunately face the same old problem - no money.

The city's voters elected four &#8220new” councilmen Tuesday and ousted all three incumbents. The clean sweep has to be attributed to the constant bickering and failure to make many changes in recent years. The problem is that voters also soundly defeated the $10 per month municipal fee that was on the ballot.

So Ironton's new council will have its hands tied more than the past group because enacting a similar fee would amount to a slap in the face for the 2,353 voters that said &#8220no.”

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Our worst fears have been realized. We urged council to do what they were elected to do and &#8220lead” by adopting a fee and make cuts without going to the ballot. Now, that should not be an option because the voters made their position very clear.

Now, the new council faces the proverbial &#8220rock and a hard place.”

If council doesn't quickly find some revenue stream or cut expenses drastically, the city will soon be back in a state of fiscal emergency. If the council passes a fee, they have essentially said, &#8220We don't care what you said; we know best.”

We have a problem with the latter since our nation was founded on the principles of democracy and rule by the people. The people spoke. Passing a $10 fee before following through on other ways to make ends meet - cutting the budget  - should not even be an option.

Now the tough job begins.

This new council must certainly find ways to work together and make positive changes for the city. That job should start with looking at each line-item in the budget and finding ways to cut major expenses. Cutting office supplies and other such items won't be enough.

Mayor John Elam must take the lead and work with council to reexamine the entire way the city does business. Every department and every position must be scrutinized.

Will some jobs have to be cut or combined? Probably. Will some services have to be reduced or diminished? Almost without a doubt. If council and the mayor can make some cuts, but still need to pass a small fee, voters would likely find this more acceptable.

Each and every candidate that was elected said during the race that they would be willing to make the tough decision to lead Ironton to a bright future.

Those decisions must start on Dec. 1 and slapping the voters in the face with a fee they've already voted down is not one of those tough decisions.