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New mayors produce their first budgets

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Editorial: June 12, 2011

The issue: First-time efforts
Our view: It's been a healthy process

Since their victories in November, new mayors in Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove have been on the learning curve.

Each brought council experience to the new job, but it’s not the same as sitting in the big chair. Especially not during budget season.

Mayors draft budgets. Council members challenge the draft versions.

In the first major test of their administration’s resolve, Tim Walker, J.J. Duvall and Blake Proffitt seem to have responded in unique manners but with admirable results.

The starting point always is openness and each city has opened every line of the budget to scrutiny. The public’s involvement has been primarily through its elected council representatives, who have collected information, challenged details and even become testy now and then.

That’s a healthy process. When the public’s business is done openly and debated aggressively, the community can be assured its interests are served.

Although Elizabethtown’s plan dips into reserves, Walker’s initiatives include $2.4 million in stormwater projects, $275,000 for downtown redevelopment plus expansion of the wastewater treatment plant and completion of Elizabethtown Sports Park, which is funded by tourism revenue.

Duvall and the city staff developed a budget for Radcliff that’s reflective of his campaign objectives including improved signage and beautification efforts. Radcliff’s budget calls for completing streetscape renovations, providing more firefighters, widening Shelton Road and resurfacing oft-ignored South Wilson Road.

Proffitt, who changed the traditional approach in Vine Grove to solicit more input, will continue the previous budget until an audit clarifies the city’s financial status. That seems like a wise and prudent choice.

In all, the new mayors have proven to be up to the financial challenge. Living up to the budget is another task. Each government entity — like every business and every household — must confront a sagging national economy, limited resources and the lurking surprises of an unknown future.

But an air of confidence from administrations newly confident in their budgeting prowess will help face those tasks.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.