There are big differences between Wilmington, North Carolina and New Rochelle, New York, but when it comes to the difficulties of balancing municipal budgets in a tough economy, it turns out that there are also some remarkable similarities. This article in today’s New York Times profiles Wilmington in great depth, and much of the description offers eerie parallels to New Rochelle.
We all tend to view local challenges in local terms and to assume that problems in our own community derive from decisions made here. Lots of times that assumption is accurate … but many times it is not. As the Times piece demonstrates, these days every city is struggling with difficult fiscal choices, and these difficulties are likely to persist until the national economy recovers more fully.
That certainly doesn’t absolve local officials of the responsibility to do their very best with the tools and resources available, but it does put our own circumstances in some useful context. I will continue working to set rational fiscal priorities that best reflect the interests and views of the people of New Rochelle, while also laying the foundation for future progress.