Council members reveal resolutions for the city in 2009

Published 7:36 am Wednesday, December 31, 2008

FRANKLIN—Every year thousands of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking or get out of debt in an effort to make the upcoming year better than the last. Franklin’s elected officials also are considering ways to improve in 2009 and make it a better year for the city.

After a 2008 plagued with budget cuts, hiring freezes and other tough decisions, budgetary concerns loom large over the heads of several council members. Many addressed the financial dilemmas that Franklin will face in 2009, while expressing their resolutions for Franklin.

“Because of the budgetary challenges we will face, I hope we can streamline our spending and still maintain our services,” said Vice Mayor Raystine Johnson. “It’s of crucial importance that we remain good stewards of taxpayer money.”

Councilman Barry Cheatham had similar thoughts.

“We want to continue to uphold our fiscal responsibilities,” he said. “This includes working for ways to help improve education for Franklin’s children, no matter how the coming budget cuts affect the school system.”

Councilwoman Mary Hilliard said her hope is that the city “works more efficiently with less.”

Hilliard’s hopes were echoed by Councilman Benny Burgess. “My new year’s resolution is to see the city operate in an efficient and friendly environment,” he said.

Councilwoman Rosa Lawrence said because of the many issues that lie ahead, she wants to see citizens get more involved in Franklin’s political process.

“I would like to see the city and its citizens more unified,” she said. “If we can work alongside each other more, we will have the strength to get through any tough times that might arise in the community.”

Mayor Jim Councill said he doesn’t have resolutions, “just hopes” for the city’s future in 2009. Councill said there is a list of issues he would like to see addressed in the coming year:

* Reductions in crime and gang activity

* Continued progress for Franklin City Public Schools

* More economic opportunities for job seekers

* No more layoffs, closings or downsizing in the area

* Success across the city as a result of a progressive and creative governmental mindset and

* An improved economy by the second half of 2009

Mayor Councill said that he hopes citizens are understanding with officials as they attempt to achieve their goals in the new year.

“I am asking for patience by all as we address the challenges that face us next year, especially as we address the increased SPSA rates, new business model changes and a shortfall in funding from the state,” he said.

Several calls placed to Councilman Mark Fetherolf were not returned by press time.