08/22/12 — Name that cost: Museum is a nice idea. Putting city finances in peril is not.

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Name that cost: Museum is a nice idea. Putting city finances in peril is not.

And so now there is a name -- well, at least the beginnings of one.

And yet, there is still no official determination that the community has agreed -- as it was promised it would have the opportunity to do -- to the new Air Force Museum.

And once again, a question hangs in the air -- is this a done deal or is it really "up to the citizens?"

It is beginning to look most definitely like it is the former, not the latter.

So where do we go from here, especially in light of the recent annexation decision that has subtracted a significant amount of tax money out of the city budget?

Let's hope it is to an honest assessment of exactly what this is going to cost. After all, with the continuing Center Street renovation project and the inevitable budget surprises that go along with running a city, not to mention the new video project that is heading for $120,000 in salaries and equipment, we have to be pretty close to full up in the spending department.

That is, unless, of course, there is a secret pot of money in the city coffers that no one has told us about. And if there is, the city's fire and police employees as well as other city workers would probably really like to know about it, too.

Sometimes the idea of progress becomes a bit ahead of itself. It is not that no one in the city wants to see it advance -- or that in another time and economy that the ideas might not be exactly what Goldsboro needs. The problem is, most of us are watching other cities declare bankruptcy because they are having trouble meeting their bills, and we do not want to see that here.

So that means, no matter how tempting

it might be to do everything, you have to set


And right now, that should be downtown Goldsboro. The die has already been cast there and the work is beginning to get the backdrop the city says it needs to make downtown a destination and a mecca for new -- and successful -- businesses. So, finish it, get the recruitment in full swing, and put a plan in place that allows for not just a renovation project, but a successful rebirth of an area that could have real potential.

And after you are finished with that, start the next phase -- other development and other ideas.

That's how you do it so you do one project the right way -- and it is a success.

And while we are it, perhaps it is time that City Manager Scott Stevens shares his vision for the city and lists what he has done so far to make Goldsboro not only more fiscally sound, but moving forward in the right direction. Call it his "state of the city" address if you will. And he can start by justifying his payroll in the city administration. Perhaps there is a master plan that will yield big returns.

There are still many people in Goldsboro worried about money -- just as there are around the country.

They have a right to be sure that their city leaders are listening -- and that they understand that, for now, the purse strings have to be tight, just like they are at their homes.

Let's hope Goldsboro's leaders understand that.

Published in Editorials on August 22, 2012 11:26 AM