Dear Mayor Charlie Watson & City Council,
I attended the budget workshop on Saturday, at which you reviewed your budget for the upcoming fiscal year. It’s no secret that times are tight economically, and so tough decisions regarding the City’s budget have to be made. Throughout the meeting I heard words like “depressing” and “discouraging” several times. But I would like to offer a different take. I see four great things about the current budget situation in Cedar Springs:
1. It’s an opportunity to learn new ways of doing old things. I think this poem from Robert Browning Hamilton says it best:
I walked a mile with Pleasure –
She chattered all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she,
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.
There are some things we learn in difficult times that we simply wouldn’t learn at any other time.
2. You have the opportunity to involve new partners. Just like the B2B group stepped in to help run the Spooktacular, and Calvary Assembly of God and the Community Action Network organized the Mingle With Kris Kringle event, and business partners jumped into to help with the Red Flannel Festival, I know others will step in to help as well. We are a community of citizens that love Cedar Springs, so we are willing to help, if you will give us the chance.
3. You can increase community awareness. As many of you remarked, there were more concerned citizens at this year’s budget workshop than in previous years. When times are tough, it gets our attention. We want to know what you are doing, and our involvement now will probably translate into our continued involvement when Cedar Springs comes out of this economic downturn.
4. You are building our trust. It’s been said that trust is built on difficult ground. Anyone can make smart decisions when times are good and the City coffers are abundantly filled. But as you are making wise decisions during these tough times, you are building our trust in your fiscal responsibilities.
We’re all in this together. We elected you to help lead us through good times and bad times. So we’re behind you. We will come out of this time stronger, more unified, and more committed to making Cedar Springs the best place to live and work in West Michigan!
Craig T. Owens