01/06/09 — Waiting is best: City officials right to take their time on Rec Center plan

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Waiting is best: City officials right to take their time on Rec Center plan

It probably wasn't really that tough a decision in retrospect.

After all, many city residents are nervous about the economy and the future of their jobs and mortgages. The last thing they want to hear now is that they might be paying more taxes.

But even though it is almost a "duh" moment, the Goldsboro City Council's decision to take it slow on the proposed recreation center is a smart choice as local officials try to navigate this less-than-appealing economy.

Council members and Mayor Al King are still interested in building the center, but they have decided to see what the future brings -- and perhaps wait and see if there will be any money available to fund it.

And that, rather than even considering a tax increase, is exactly what needs to be done right now.

In the same breath, council also decided to invest some money in the city's local parks -- and received a long list of more possible improvements as recommended by a consultant who studied the city's parks and recreation offerings.

That is a smart decision as well.

Right now, people are nervous. Many of them are tightening their belts just to make sure they do not become one of the hundreds of thousands of people who are facing a budget crisis because of increasing costs or job loss.

They want to feel secure -- that they can afford to continue their lives and to keep their homes.

By deciding to renovate what the city has rather than starting over, city officials have bought residents some breathing room and allowed them to rest easy that there is not a big bill coming down the pike -- at least not right now.

After the dust has settled and there is a more accurate picture of what the proposed $700 billion federal stimulus package will mean for individual cities across the U.S., city officials can re-evaluate and see what the priorities should be and what this community can afford.

Who knows -- the stimulus package could bring in more funds than expected and allow the city to do some needed park improvements and fund a recreation center.

But, for now, keeping city and county residents calm about the economic conditions, while still making sure budgets stay balanced, is the right move for responsible government with the future in mind.

It is nice to see that the Goldsboro City Council sees its residents' concern -- and has acted on it.

Published in Editorials on January 6, 2009 11:12 AM