Girard needs a plan to get out of fiscal emergency

Girard needs a plan to get out of fiscal emergency
Now that the local elections are approaching in May we are again beginning to hear the political rhetoric, such as "this is the year we will evolve from fiscal emergency, if everything falls in place." Hopefully, this will happen, however, with so many ifs, this approach seems more like a wish list, rather than a well-defined plan. Is there a back-up plan in place?
It's amazing to me that so many Girard residents do not realize that the city has been in a "fiscal emergency" since 2001. Many of those I have spoken with on this subject feel this condition has had little or no effect on them personally and are not concerned. What they fail to recognize is that fiscal emergency in the public sector is comparable to bankruptcy in the private sector and has directly or indirectly affected them. It places severe financial limitations and burdens on the city's spending practices, forcing elimination and reductions of city services. Therefore, evolving from fiscal emergency should be the first priority of our city officials and should be addressed with a sense of urgency.
The following is only a partial list of results of our fiscal emergency status and its effect on the city's residents:
1. Reduction of police force (29 to 16), loss of revenue (traffic violations, etc.) and increase in crime.
2. Reduction in firefighters (minimum staffing), elimination of city ambulance and increase in local taxes (fire levy).
3. Elimination of Capital Improvement Fund, lack of money for major projects.
4. Lack of recreation funding for Liberty, Stambaugh and Hartzell parks and various events.
5. Significant loss of population, loss of tax revenue.
6. Businesses closing and moving, loss of tax revenue.
7. Deteriorating infrastructure, downtown, streets, sewers, sidewalks, etc.
8. Over abundance of homes for sale.
9. Lower home market values compared to other local communities.
10. Low morale of city employees and entire community.
Girard is a city with a population of a slightly over 10,000 people, 25 percent of whom are retirees. The average per capita income is 17,000 and a third of the homes are rental properties. Obviously, based on these statistics, Girard is not considered to be an affluent community. We have no choice but to rely on our elected officials to manage our tax dollars effectively, while practicing prudent expense control.
Until priorities are set and the financial crisis is resolved, the city will continue to erode and the current problems will continue to exist. Please let your elected officials and candidates know, prior to the election, that you are concerned and would like to hear their ideas on a financial recovery plan. City council and the administration share this responsibility and must work together.
Not a hero or a villain
The lead letter of Jan. 11 was correct in one premise. President Bush is neither hero or villain. He is, in my view, the same as when he announced the Iraq invasion plan in 2002, a childish fool. His search for cheap glory has landed us in a lose-lose situation where there are no correct choices. However, considering that most of the world's national leaders are also childish, that is not overly exceptional.
But there are those who are even more childish. There is, for example, Iran's Ahmadinejad, and North Korea's Kim Jong Il. Kim Il is so childish he makes Bush look like the Sage of the Mountain.
It appears to me that while the Iraq troop buildup looks like another Vietnam scenario, one of problems may be that we have landed the United States on the edge of what looks more like a 30 Years War situation. That sectarian warfare looks too much like what Christianity went through in the 17th century.
Violence, greed and stupidity are conjoined triplets.

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