Cumberland Times-News

Jan Alderton - Opinion

September 17, 2009

We’re not by ourselves in this

The cities of Cumberland and Frostburg are hardly alone when it comes to municipalities battling financial problems in the aftermath of the recession. The National League of Cities reports that 89 percent of city finance officers say they doubt that their city budget will be able to meet fiscal needs in 2010. And 2011 promises to be no better, the organization said.

So how are these cities coping? The league reports:

• Forty-five percent are increasing fees.

• Twenty-seven percent are creating new fees for existing services.

• About 25 percent increased property taxes this year.

• Sixty-seven percent are making layoffs.

One of the scenarios being considered by Cumberland leaders is to scale back firefighting and EMT services. The possibility of using volunteers even has been mentioned.

News reports around the nation this month have detailed several firefighter layoffs. For example Canton, Ohio, lost 15 firefighters, East St. Louis, Mo., 13, and Lehigh Acres, Fla., 39. Andover, Mass., is temporarily closing two of its fire stations. Akron, Ohio, appears to be one of the hardest hit, laying off 201 city workers, including 96 police officers and 38 firefighters....

Allegany Magazine has a nice special edition now on newsstands. It features nine elegantly designed local homes.

Featured are the homes of Nick and Shirley Giarritta, John and Amy Shuman, Charlie and Donna Garman, George Plitnick, Elayne Warren, the Brooke Whiting House, Pam Reynolds, Paul Sullivan, the Gordon Roberts House, and Shane Riggs, Allegany Magazine’s managing editor....

Whether the Washington Redskins can keep their name may be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A group of American Indians who find the Redskins name offensive has petitioned the court to take up the issue. A lower court previously upheld use of the name, albeit on a legal technicality. There is no word on whether the high court will actually hear the issue....

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Jan Alderton - Opinion
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