What will 2010 bring?

Published 8:20 pm Saturday, January 2, 2010

With nearly every day ahead of us, what do you say will become of 2010? What will we look back on as the biggest developments of the year? What will the first year of this new decade be most remembered for?

What we do know is there are a number of issues brought into this new year from the one we just finished.

First among those is our city’s effort to battle a struggling economy – an economy that has slowed progress and lowered cash reserves for nearly every city, city agency, public education system and state across our country.

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City leaders have worked to trim expenses and – in some cases – cut employees. They are now looking for input from city residents as they prepare the 2010-2011 budget.

As the state has made budget cuts, reducing the amount of money sent to the cities, municipal leaders must find new ways to cut.

The input they seek from residents will give city leaders the feedback they need to set up budget priorities for the upcoming budget year. These meetings are crucial, and public input is vital.

It would be a shame if citizens did not take the opportunity to help shape the budget priorities. There are some cities that do not offer such chance to impact the direction of their city outside of an election year.

One of the other carryover items from 2009 will be the constant battle of dealing with the city’s growth, both in population and maturity.

The city’s population growth is among the fastest in Hampton Roads, which brings with it the need to meet the needs of an increased population. There are the demands on city services such as police, fire and trash, along with the demand on the city’s infrastructure, including its highways and education system.

There is also the emotional divide that remains apparent between historic Suffolk and areas in North Suffolk.

More than three decades after the merger of the city and Nansemond County, there remains the pull between those who want to preserve the city’s rich history and those who want the city to be more progressive.

The question remains, why can’t we have both?

As for historical preservation, the debate over the future of Obici House will continue as city officials and preservation groups continue their “discussions.” It is likely this issue will find much more focus in the coming months as development plans are presented and reviewed.

With all of this ahead of Suffolk in 2010, one thing remains consistently strong from year to year, and that is the spirit of a city that has seen the ebb and flow of prosperity and despair many times over. And each time Suffolk has faced tough times, it has come through it stronger and better positioned for the future.

With that history on our side, just imagine what we will see from Suffolk this time next year.