Patience, information needed as officials make hard choices

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Poplar Bluff School District has 10 positions board members hope to leave unfilled in the coming school year.

Three Rivers College will leave “a large number” of positions open when students return in August.

The City of Poplar Bluff will look at cutting close to $300,000 from their current budget when council members meet in July.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Department has laid off five employees, including four deputies.

The state also has announced more than $420 million of withholdings due to budget concerns, making cuts to many core areas, including education, social services, corrections and senior services.

We cannot deny that the coronavirus, no matter what we may individually think about it and our nation’s response, is going to have long-term impacts on our lives.

In May, the state announced general revenue collections were down 22.5% compared to the year prior.

Locally, sales tax collections held strong for the first two months of the pandemic, but city officials expect to see losses in gas tax and hotel tax revenues, among other areas.

There are many difficult decisions ahead of them.

These are decisions that will impact our daily lives in ways we cannot entirely predict right now, but it will certainly mean losses or delays in some of the services we have come to expect.

It’s important as our schools, city, county and state officials navigate these uncharted waters that we seek conversations, not confrontations, about the solutions.

We may certainly disagree with the choices they make, but we hope area residents will seek to be informed about the decisions being made. We all need to understand the information before making demands that may be unreasonable or impossible, given these challenging times.

Our officials, both those who receive taxpayer-funded salaries and those who volunteer their time, have difficult decisions ahead.

We need to make sure that we don’t make that job more difficult by presenting them with impossible alternatives.

— Daily American Republic

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