I don’t know if it’s coincidence, or if the fact that we’re now a couple of years beyond the recession is bringing to bear fruit: But stories of success and accomplishment in local government are cropping up all over lately.
In the east communities are well underway rebuilding damage from Hurricane Sandy, and we learned lessons from last winter’s snowstorms that have already changed how blizzard and ice warnings will be handled this year. A few more officers are on the streets and a few new trucks have finally been purchased to replace those that limped along for too long. It’s not exactly a bright new day, but things do seem to be looking up.
In New York state the fight has been renewed against blighted properties, fueled by funds that are being funneled from the state through land banks to rebuild and restore neighborhoods hit by the the housing crisis. According to the NTEA, municipal orders for trucks are on the rise and overall, even though a few dark clouds (read: pension reform) still linger, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic. I talked to municipal leagues in several states in October about the accomplishments they’re celebrating, and we’ve shared some of those in this issue of the magazine. I hope you’ll take away some inspiration.
If 2015 is the year you finally get to update loader equipment on the salt trucks, choose a new piece of firefighting equipment or rebuild the patched road that was postponed last summer, we have opinions from those in the business about products that are the newest and most advanced. You’ll want to take a look because municipal budgets seem to be just like mine: They don’t allow for upgrades as often as we’d like, so when they do, it pays to buy the most advanced product you can. In my house, no matter what the appliance is, it will be retained in spite of subsequent improvements, so I try to get as far ahead of the game as I can.
If you’re at the point where you can start to make smart growth plans for the end of this decade, be sure to read through this month’s guest column from Neha Bhatt of Smart Growth America for edification on why that’s likely the best investment decision you could make at this juncture in the economic cycle. Writer Ray Balogh also plants the seed, in this issue, of a new way of looking at solid waste disposal. It might be something hang on to, in the back of your mind, as you go about meeting the challenges of 2015.
Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to our readers.