05/17/11 — Reward success: Council's picks for cuts ought to be examined again

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Reward success: Council's picks for cuts ought to be examined again

One has to wonder just what the members of the City Council -- and really, city staff and officials -- were thinking when they came up with the idea that the way to get the city's budget in line was to cut funding to some of the most successful programs in Goldsboro.

In light of some of the money that has been thrown around the city lately, it seems as though perhaps a little more thought would have resulted in some better decisions -- and perhaps a way to trim maintenance and matching money expenses so there was enough money to continue what can only be termed critical programs. Perhaps a few other projects could have been put on the back burner.

Let's take for example, the graduation coach at Goldsboro High School. Rest assured, no matter what happens with city funding, Communities in Schools executive director Sudie Davis is not going to let that program fail.

We know, she told us.

She knows how critical it is to the students at Goldsboro High.

And it is not hard for her to prove it either -- just look at the large increase in the number of students graduating at the school. That statistic speaks for itself.

So, Mrs. Davis will look for grants and other funding sources -- just as she has done for the other programs she has helped create and support.

But she should not have to seek such funds to make it. She should be able to count on city officials to fund a program that offers immeasurable value to a city school that needs it -- even if the initial agreement was only for one year. She should be looking for grants to expand it and to make it even more successful.

The same is true for WATCH.

When you have a program that is not only frugal, but also strives to help an increasingly at-risk population in your city, and has a proven record of continued success, you look for other places to cut back and show your appreciation for the hard work that is being done there -- and recognize how critical it is to the residents it serves.

The same is true for Project Uplift and the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County -- these programs assist a portion of the city's population and perform a service that, in the end, reduces expenses for the city in terms of lower crime rates and victims' services.

And do we even need to talk about what the American Red Cross does for this county?

There are many people who are puzzled by the city's budget plans this year. The numbers say the city is facing a funding struggle, yet council members are considering a $500K purchase for a building that needs $1.4M in repairs. And yes, we know the money comes from a different pot, but what about the expenses that go along with such a project?

And that is not the first request either -- there is the downtown streetscape, the recreation center, matching money for a park grant and $50,000 that just went to fund country acts at the recent air show.

Is there a secret pot of money city residents don't know about?

Mayor Al King and some council members suggested that there needs to be a very careful look at these proposed cuts. And they are dead-on right.

And so, too, does there need to be a hard look at who is directing spending, projects and priorities in the city this year. That person has some "splaining" to do.

Published in Editorials on May 17, 2011 10:44 AM