A wish for more public efficiency in the year ahead

Call it our wishlist for the region to thrive in 2014.

This is not about your household. You’ve got your own challenges. We won’t meddle other than to wish you luck with them.

This is about the public leadership we elect and appoint to head our municipal, school and county organizations and governments. They have challenges and we are impacted heavily by their ability to meet them.

Every school district and municipality should be looking at the services they pay to provide and asking themselves if they can consolidate those services with a neighbor and serve multiple constituencies more efficiently and cheaply.

Every school district and municipality should be looking at facilities and equipment in the same manner.

Our county government has grown over the years, taking on new responsibilities and trying to offer new services that make sense for the 21st Century. There has been much innovation to be proud of, but it’s worth considering if other parts of county government can be trimmed or even eliminated because they have become outdated.

Our human services agencies in this county do a great job of trying to seal all the cracks in our local way of life, taking care of the economically disadvantaged, those impacted by crisis and emergency and many of our citizens who have been dealt bad breaks in some facet of their lives. They operate on tight budgets and are highly dependent on the generosity of fellow residents to support those spending plans.

So it’s incumbent this year – more than ever – that they doublecheck that what they are offering to make sure it is relevant and operating more efficiently than ever.

There is plenty of daily evidence that Washington, D.C., doesn’t know what a tight budget is. The national debt has more than doubled in the past six years and yet House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently said there is “nowhere else to cut spending.”

We don’t have the luxury of thinking that way in our region. Just as with our families, all organizations and public spending bodies in the region need to be more effective than ever so that the maximum amount of necessary services can continue in 2014.