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Article published May 15, 2013
Something is amiss
Gino Mariotti Butler
The May 9 edition of the Butler Eagle describes in detail the city/county/school board budget plans for the future. Controversial issues are exposed, leading one to conclude that a number of our officials have their priorities mixed up. The county commissioners’ bizarre real estate adventure, several officials asleep at the wheel at the city building, and a school board’s considerable investment that “robs Peter to pay Paul” have been exposed by our local newspaper. The decision by the commissioners to pursue construction of a new building is ludicrous. The total cost of this self-serving folly is, so far, at least $327,034. Elsewhere, the Butler School Board is weighing cuts and savings, planning to cut 19 teachers and a librarian and not replacing two retiring guidance counselors. To make matters worse, a number of classes are scheduled for cuts, too numerous to repeat. Teachers’ lives are disrupted, and education takes a hit. Conversely, $277,611 is added to the school budget for armed school security guards. As the national rallying cry grows louder to add armed security in public places, where is the line drawn when we find education and jobs are replaced by security investments? At the turn of the century, Butler’s Main Street Program was highly praised as the solution to restoring and beautifying downtown Butler. More than a decade later, this endeavor is “running on fumes,” according to the Butler Eagle. The state grant to bolster the project is now delayed, partly due to city/downtown miscommunications. This is a sad commentary on the urgency and attention to detail lacking among some city officials. Of the $70,000 in state funds provided, $40,000 of that goes mostly to the Main Street manager’s salary and benefits. Most importantly, except for blight around Main Street, there is no visible sign of progress, only empty buildings and vacant lots to show for an empty promise. Scrap it. When driving on Jefferson and Cunningham streets full length, intrusive, shabby road conditions are encountered. In an attempt to remedy the condition, too often a band-aid of pavement patching is haphazardly applied. As drivers continue to confront the road’s peaks and valleys, an indiscriminately placed utility company sunken metal manhole cover could cost drivers a wheel alignment. There’s something amiss. To allow these shenanigans to go unchallenged sends a bad message to our elected officials that, once again, we accept the status quo. A single letter to the editor won’t shake up the system, but to borrow a phrase from Hillary Rodham Clinton, “It takes a village.” After all, the ballot box no longer cures what ails us.