December 6, 2012

By Contributor

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Council, staff should be applauded for budget

City Manager Rob Wyman, Finance Director Chris Olson and the entire Newcastle City Council should be applauded for their work on the city’s 2013 budget.

In a landscape where citizens are often being asked to shoulder taxes upon taxes to help cities stay afloat during difficult economic times, the City Council approved a 2013 budget that includes no new taxes.

On top of that, the 2013 budget increases public safety, adequately funds pavement management and works quickly to fix the Coal Creek Parkway issues.

It will also make certain Newcastle streets safer for kids walking to Hazelwood Elementary School and eventually the new middle school, with the sidewalk project on 116th Avenue Southeast.

It even takes into account the safety of certain Newcastle Library patrons who walk to the site with its Southeast 73rd Place improvements.

The quick work of Public Works Director Mark Rigos and city engineer Kerry Sullivan to secure a $400,000 grant for the Coal Creek Parkway project should also be commended. The grant will thankfully allow the city to do the repairs in 2013, before further damage results in an increased cost to the city.

Including the addition of a new 50-50 shared police detective, the 2013 budget has the great potential to make Newcastle a better, safer place to live, work and play.

However, we do wish more of an effort was made to keeping the parks manager position on a full-time basis. We can only hope that the reduction does not negatively impact community events and other work done by the Parks Commission.

Also, we worry that city staff is taking on too much in terms of capital projects. While it’s great that the city is able to financially do all of these projects, we hope that the proper care is taken to make sure that they are done thoroughly and well.

While no one can tell exactly what the future holds for the city of Newcastle, pending development of major projects such as the Mutual Materials site, the immediate future, at least, does indeed look bright.

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