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Cooperation Should Not be Among ‘First World’ Problems

March 9, 2016  |  Lamar Norton, GMA Executive Director
Lamar Norton
The world economy, the presidential debates and the unpredictable weather have dominated the news the past few months. As I reflect on these topics, I realize I have very little, if any, control on the outcome or ultimate decision on any of them. However, I am very proud of the fact that as an American I can voice my opinion on each topic whenever I feel the urge to speak.
 
Often we see and hear how bad it can be in countries constantly at war, experiencing extreme hunger or living in horrific conditions on a daily basis. We very seldom use the phrase “first world country” but we should. We live in a place that has fresh clean water, sanitary sewers, public safety officers, parks and recreation, the best road system in the world and the possibility that each will improve our way of life.
 
This very fact separates us from the rest of the world. But we can’t take it for granted. Each day I see the hard working men and women that are employed by our cities do their very best with fewer and fewer resources. Our residents have great expectations of each service offered by a city and they want it to continue or improve almost daily. The public dollar is constantly shrinking and we have to find new ways to deliver that water or collect the trash.
 
Partnerships are necessary to continue if we are to retain our “first world country” status. Working with our counties and with our state legislature is an absolute must as we find ways to be together on delivering services. We are very proactive in dealing with our residents, but sometimes we fail to be that progressive in dealing with our county commissioners or the state legislature.
 
In the next few months county and state officials will have the general election primary. Now is the time to build those relationships and set the direction on where we can go as a state, and as cities and counties working together. We are in the business of providing leadership for our communities and getting the city issues in front of everyone seeking public office. Don’t wait for someone else to do it, speak up now!
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