The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


October 21, 2012

City needs money, but still should have waited


Trouble brewing

There are two sides to every coin, however, and this issue is no different. Citizens have a right to voice their frustration with the city government, but only those who look at the books on a daily basis know if there’s a need for more revenue.

And if the city leadership believes the need is there, who are we to argue? It’s easy to play armchair quarterback when it comes to the city’s fiscal matters, but if the city is put into a position where it must decrease its services, everyone suffers.

The city also faces the potential of becoming an island with nowhere to grow. Huntsville and Madison have annexed tens of thousands of acres in southern and eastern Limestone County, and Decatur may now be trying to stake its claim.

A recent request by Calhoun Community College to be annexed into Decatur may be taken as a sign of more annexations to come.

Less land for Athens means fewer opportunities for retail and industrial development. That also means fewer funds in the city’s coffers.

Staring down the barrel of such gloomy prospects, it is no wonder the city leadership is panicked and looking for new revenue streams.

In short, we have little doubt the city will need the money in the coming year. And we trust it will be used for the greater good. However, we wish the council had gone about its decision in a more transparent, informed manner.

It’s been said voters have short memories, but this is an issue they may not forget in four years.

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