06/06/09 — The good news: County budget holds -- and rest of news is not so horrible here either

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The good news: County budget holds -- and rest of news is not so horrible here either

So the amounts, plans and numbers revealed this past week as the Wayne County and Goldsboro city governments unveiled their budgets were not reason to break out the champagne -- or whatever else you would choose to use to mark a celebration.

There will be cuts, freezes and holds and some services curtailed. There will be delays on some spending that really would have been justifiable this year.

And, just in case you are wondering, don't look for the school funding issues to be resolved in any significant fashion this year. No one really knows -- still -- what the education budget will look like next year, and that can be linked directly to the mess in Raleigh.

In the city, it is going to cost more for water and sewer this coming year. There will not be pools of money lying around, so some projects will be moved off the front burner -- as they should be -- for now.

But even though this community does not seem to have won the lottery, there were no shocking predictions of bizillion dollar deficits and, overall, the county and city seem to be in OK shape, or at least able to hold their own.

Considering the predicament many other communities have found themselves in this year, the news does not seem to be as bad as it could have been -- at least for now, until the state can pinpoint its deficit. That's the only wild card left.

There are signs that the economic downturn is beginning to make the long and difficult path back up to even -- a process that is not going to happen overnight.

So while we wait for the champagne kind of good news, the trick is to make this budget work a little while longer and to try to help each other get through the scary parts.

If we have to spend more, we might need to think about that. And if we have some priorities that need our attention, we might have to analyze that, too.

But in the meantime, the trick is to stay calm, to keep as many Wayne County residents employed as possible, to watch spending and budgets closely and to do the best we can to keep our schools strong and improving.

If we stick to that plan, when the real upswing happens -- and it will happen -- this county will be poised for not just breaking even, but moving forward.

And there are other ways to help keep this county healthy and stable.

Consider spending more right here at home. Businesses need help now, too, as they struggle to maintain payrolls and to pay their bills. If you can buy it here, do so. You will be contributing to keeping your community flourishing and growing.

And keep this fact in mind: In the end, we really are all in this together.

Published in Editorials on June 6, 2009 11:53 PM