We are in this together

Times-News editorial board

It seems like doom and gloom is upon us everywhere we look. There is mention of the economy in sports stories, entertainment stories and, of course, business stories.

Our worries are warranted — but, it is not the end.

For many of us — residents and decision makers ­— this is going to be our first experience in a recession. And, we need to make better efforts to understand what is needed to prosper.

The work is already underway in Morton. Just last week, village departments held a committee-of-the-whole meeting to discuss budgets. It is very apparent they are hard at work seeking ways to reduce costs.

When trustees start asking questions regarding a certain department's cleaning crew, it is easy to assume officials are digging deep to cut costs.

Morton Mayor Norm Durflinger is not afraid to be honest about the village's budget concerns. Why should he? This town is not immune to the economic woes felt by the rest of the nation. Municipalities across the United States will struggle, just like ours, to make ends meet.

Capital projects create jobs. Unfortunately, in a slow economy, such projects are sometimes delayed in order to satisfy other needs.

Officials have already decided to postpone capital work on Van Buren street, Durflinger said.

"The problem with the capital fund is we want to stimulate the economy around here, also," he said. "Remaining road work is going to put people to work.

"We've got a little bit of reserves in our funds and we're going to walk that fine line to get some people some jobs," he added.

Durflinger said each department has been given a list of suggested changes to consider over the next month as officials look to make cuts.

"We're going to have to use a combination of postponing and cutting whatever we can," Durflinger said. "I have recommended the board look for additional revenue."

Village officials are well aware of the possible changes that might take place in the following months.

Each department — police, fire, paramedics, etc. — will have to piece together what is necessary and what is not.

"(The departments) have got their own list," Durflinger said. "When it comes time, we'll have to go down that list and make decisions."

Durflinger is confident, however, that the current board of trustees will be able to find ways to reduce costs with minimal conflict.

"Over the past four years, this board has worked very close. We have a common view," he said.

Durflinger said he hopes residents will have that same respect.

"It's times like this when people in Morton need to come together," he said. "Those with a little extra money need to be spending (in Morton) so we can bring Morton back."

Times are going to be tough, no doubt. Public officials may need to compromise on pet projects. It is not a time for petty disagreements; rather, it is time to work together for the common good.

It is time to ask what our town can do for us and what we can do for our hometown. That means we all need to prepare to make sacrifices.

Most importantly, we have to remain upbeat. We have to enter this era with the notion that things will get better. This, too, shall pass.

"It was tough," Durflinger said. "But, we got through the '80s."

Note the word "we."

It took the understanding and tolerance of all parties for life to get back to normal.

In today's materialistic world, this may be a bit more challenging, but it is very possible.

Remember, it is not just you that might struggle — it is all of us. Knowing this may make life easier on everybody.

We are in this together.