The Curry Coastal Pilot

There are still those who claim surprise by Curry County's fiscal crisis, or who believe "no one did anything." As we were preparing the 2011 Year in Review section (coming in Saturday's edition) we gathered some Pilot's headlines, just from the front pages of 2011.

January: "Budget cuts loom for most county departments," "Budgeting with less cash priority for county board," "Sheriff: Budget cuts equal big consequences," and "County mulls merger of services with health district."

February: "Ex-commissioner to give 'county in crisis' talk," "President's budget keeps funding for Curry County," and "County hopes to pay deputies using road funds."

March: "Board: Tort claim settled to save Curry thousands," "County considers employee pay cuts," and "County gets ready to cut jobs, combine departments."

April: "County asks state for help combating tree disease," "County mulls cost-cutting proposals," "County will likely combine services," "County jobs on the line as board mulls options," "County timber funds make House budget priority list," "Board takes first step in reorganizing Curry County," "County OKs order called for at least seven layoffs," "County's hope for timber cash still alive," and "Budget cuts: Sheriff will lay off deputy and dispatcher."

May: "Salary cut for county officials proposed," "Group OKs salary cut for county's top officials," "Hospice, county work on debt deal," "Group cuts $300K from county's general fund," "County Public Services cuts hours, raises fees," and "Hospice load proposal a compromise with county."

June: "Curry officials prepare for town hall meetings," "County outlines budget at town hall," and "County: Fair board must repay $50,000 loan."

July: "County facing unexpected reduction of federal funds," "Visions for airport property revealed: Official's ideas include nature park, golf course," "County in no hurry to decide what to do about state funding loss," "County may transfer health services to health district," "Rhodes will share land plans with the public," and "Health district OKs plan to study human services merger."

August: "Commission to host extra meeting on Rhodes' plan," "County will study merger of health service," "County adopts new building permit fees," "County commissioners preset budget figures at town hall meetings," "County meeting focuses on shortfall, golf course," "Congressman has plan to help schools and counties," and "State cuts $48K from county jail operations."

September: "County to state: We may be going broke," "Bill could secure cash for counties," "County park proposal faces opposition," and "Curry seeks state's help to solve cash crisis."

October: "Proposed Floras Lake golf course in jeopardy," "City police responding to more county calls," "Game plan set to extend rural county payments," "County board backs off on proposed nature trail park," "Curry County taxes rise as property values drop," "County overpaid property tax fees," "County will form citizens' board to help solve looming financial crisis," and "Governor: County must consider property tax hike."

November: "County, state unite to contain financial crisis," "County officials meet today to discuss crisis strategy," "Home Health and Hospice transition going well," "Curry County begins effort to address financial crisis," "County issues call for Citizens' Committee members," "Curry: A county in crisis," "Will the federal support continue?," "24 picked for county Citizens' Committee," "What else can be cut from budget?," "Committee members will tackle county crisis," "Property tax hikes unpopular, but governor says it's necessary," and "Looking for other funding to fill a $3 million hole."

December: ""Dire predictions nothing new for Citizens' Committee," "Cities weigh options as county struggles," "County erases debt of public health," "Rhodes tells governor about Curry's financial plight."

This situation is no surprise; the long trail of warnings goes back for decades. And lots of ideas have been proposed and tried. Now is the time to look forward, not back.