Monday marked the first meeting of 2008 for Coatesville's City Council, and the yet to be passed 2008 budget is a huge item for council to review.Currently the budget is projected to be $10.3 million, but some council members don't believe it is ready to be passed.
First Ward Councilman Ed Simpson said Friday, "In no way is this budget ready to be passed."
Simpson said he has questions he wants answered by administrators, specifically about how the city expects to generate enough revenue to cover its expenses.
"It is just another example of this administration trying to force feed something to us when we are not prepared to take it," Simpson said. "(They) delay us until our backs are up against the wall."
Clearly, another budget issue isn't something the city really wants to have hang over council's head for the entire new year, as they did with the unbalanced 2007 budget. We don't want to see repeats of staff layoffs, talk of police layoffs, and the like. The city can't afford that if it really wants to move its revitalization efforts forward in 2008.
City Manager Harry Walker is focusing on growth to balance the budget, with what he called "growth imperative".
"We have to have more construction," Walker said. "We have to have more building coming into the city."
He mentioned commercial projects, like developer Oliver Tyrone Pulver's plans for a four-story office building and 125-room hotel in the city, and new residential developments planned in several locations around the city.
"I don't think we can save ourselves out of this situation," Walker said. "We have to increase revenues."
We all hope more construction comes into the city, and that the current projects really pick up steam and we can see some visual evidence in the coming months. If residents can't see evidence of progress and all they feel they are getting is lip service from city officials, things aren't going to be very good in the city.
The bottom line here? Get the budget balanced, get it right, and get it passed. As soon as possible.