Opportunity: City Council must forge ahead in 2019

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce said this week he “really fell in love with the work” of being mayor, in 2018. In the discussing the achievements and challenges of his second year in office, he was able to look ahead to a year for which he and the current council laid a solid foundation.

There was a great deal of work done. But there is plenty more to do.

Councilman John Reed, who was council president in 2018, pointed out the city is now in the best financial shape it’s ever been, at least under this (strong mayor) form of government.”

“Our house is in good financial order,” Joyce said.

With those adjustments made, council and the administration must work just as hard in the coming year to ensure there is no going backwards in the work of serving the citizens of Parkersburg.

Among the concerns Joyce expressed was the need to tackled deferred maintenance — and he and council have so far done that.

But any homeowner knows, the thing about maintenance is it is never finished. And catching up on deferred maintenance must not mean other necessary work suffers. It is not always easy to avoid kicking the can down the road on one project when another screams for attention.

It is good to see officials understanding the need to get on top of projects before they become a much larger, more expensive problem. That focus must not waver; though certainly it will take some time to pick up years worth of cans that were already kicked down the road that ended with this administration and council.

“It’ll be slow progress, but we’re moving in that direction,” Joyce said.

Good. They must keep doing so — and not allow silly distractions to slow the process even further.

To his credit, Councilman Eric Barber recognized the need to eliminate some of those distractions; and that there is room for him, and others who have a tendency to let disagreements boil over to “to take a step back and act more civilly.”

With the new year come many opportunities for fresh starts. While council starts anew in the diplomacy and compromise departments, they must NOT go back to square one when it comes to what they have accomplished. Keep forging ahead folks.

The work you have done is much appreciated … and only the beginning.