Despite pronouncements from various sources to the contrary, the current economic situation remains of great concern to most of us here in the 8th Ward. Conflicting news media reports can offer hopeful signs of recovery and highly depressing financial news all in the same day. Many of my friends and neighbors that are business owners have taken to turning most of it off, focusing solely on the task of running their business without the constant reminder of just how bad things really are.
If I can’t offer more concrete hope to you that this situation will end soon, at least let me give you some steps we can all take to do our part here at home.
First, the 8th Ward is home to over 60 small businesses and hundreds more throughout Aurora. Most have worked hard and risked much to provide the goods and services you need for your families. They need your support. Keep our buying power here locally with the stores and companies that also employ our neighbors. They support our needs and deserve an opportunity to compete for our business. Don’t get me wrong. If they can’t meet your needs or rise to the level of quality and service you expect, then they don’t deserve your business. I think you will find that most can and will find ways to keep you coming back.
Second, each of us has those favorite local stores that we’ve supported for years. Golden Sea Chinese restaurant and 8th Ward resident Dave Hacker’s Stew’s Barber Shop have been ‘go to’ neighborhood fixtures here for decades while newer places like Bark Avenue have caught our attention (really, my dog’s! She won’t go anywhere else for her bath and nail trims!) Oakhurst residents Sal & Branka Arenella own and operate Eyeland Optical on Downer Place in downtown Aurora and there are many more locally owned, operated and staffed businesses like these that have what it takes to meet your needs. This keeps money in the community to then be spent again in the community, providing more jobs and keeping our portion of the sales taxes here as well. Tell your friends and neighbors. Help them understand they can find buying satisfaction here locally for many of their needs.
Third, for my part, I will continue my focus to bring new non-tax revenue into our city and keep control of our costs. The state’s financial problems are fast coming home to hit us all very hard. Our school district and local school board will be faced with some very tough decisions in the next 6 months as payments from the state continue to be delayed and state education funding cuts for next year come to light. In talking to the leadership of the school district and the school board, I can tell you they have no intension of ‘kicking the can down the street’ to some other time and place. They will deal with their problems as will we at the City of Aurora by placing even greater controls on our spending and reducing our costs. I know some people are so frightened of the financial situation they call out to cease all spending. As you know, that’s not possible but strict scrutiny of what is spent and a reasonable priority of what we need to provide for a safe and quality life here in the City of Aurora are paramount. As we move out of our snow season, I know most of you wanted the snow cleared from the streets these last few months. We employed some money saving techniques with timing and staff use to try to hold down the cost while keeping the streets cleared. Last Fall, we ran a Fall Recycling Day that cost this Ward $560 instead of the over $10,000 past garbage days have cost. There appeared to be more taking part this Fall than the old style events. We are making plans to continue our residential street repaving program and 8th Ward streets are a part of that plan again in 2010. We’ll continue to look for ways to meet the needs of the community for less.
There’s already enough fear out there today. Find ways to help instead of passing the fear around. Support our local businesses, tell our state representatives what they should do about our state financial crisis and take time for yourself, your neighbors and your family.
Keep Them Alive