While I don’t agree with the grandstanding that occurred Wednesday night at a special meeting of Coatesville City Council, I get that there are concerns about the financial health of the city.
I’m sure it came as a shock to some people that without approving tapping into the reserve fund the city by Monday will be unable to pay its bills.
According to reporter Eric Smith’s story, City Council voted against a withdrawal of $2.2 million from the trust fund for the third time in recent weeks during the special meeting on Wednesday. Without those additional funds, Finance Director John Marcarelli recommended that council not approve a list of bills during its regular meeting on Monday, because the city will not be able to pay them.
This sounds to me like when the state government or federal government threatens a shutdown because there isn’t an approved budget. But there have been times when the operations have grinded to a halt.
And while I don’t think Coatesville on Monday night WON’T approve the withdrawal of the funds, the fundamental problem that got us here will not have changed.
There are perceptions about a couple of things in Coatesville that I feel hurt the city and its effort to revitalize. Those problems (real or not depending on who you would ask) are crime and education.
The problems of the city’s police force are now well known. And we are kidding ourselves if we think the bad guys don’t also know. When the police force is in turmoil then the bad guys win by default. That’s just a fact.
So the sooner that mess gets cleaned up and we get a permanent full time chief, the better.
In terms of education, like it or not the Coatesville schools have a reputation issue. It may or may not be true but perception at times can be the reality. I’m certain that there have been people who have been reluctant to move into the area and send their kids to Coatesville schools. And that’s a shame because there are plenty of good kids and good teachers and good things going on.
Honestly? The crime issue spreads to the schools and therein lies the issue.
According to Eric’s story, City Manager Kirby Hudson said he is hopeful that council will approve the withdrawal on Monday night. He said he expects employees to show up to work on Monday.
But one never knows. It wouldn’t surprise me if a good number DON’T show up. Would you? Perhaps a message sent to City Council that people are tired of this mess would be a good thing.
And why the heck Kirby Hudson stays is beyond me. This guy has been beat up worse than an amateur fighter taking on Mike Tyson in his prime. It’s difficult at times to watch the nonsense in Coatesville as Kirby tries to stay afloat and keep things going. No one should have to deal with what he has had to deal with in his tenure in Coatesville.
As for how the city will continue to run for the final three months of the year without the additional funds, Council President David Collins said that is unclear at this time.
“I will have to talk to Kirby Hudson to see what we can do to keep things going,” Collins said. “We may have to look at making sacrifices. The city has been extremely generous to a lot of departments.”
Now there can be lots of sacrifices but that won’t ultimately solve the larger issues.
So here’s a blueprint for improvement:
Withdraw the money from the fund.
Hire the RIGHT police chief.
Work with the schools.
Start an active campaign promoting Coatesville.
Stop the politics and private agendas.
Elect council members who actually show up for meetings and are accountable.
Hold peoples’ feet to the fire and cut the crap – please.
If most of these things happen Coatesville has a shot.
If the city keeps ignoring the real problems then shut the doors, turn off the lights and say goodnight Gracie.
— Andy Hachadorian