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Local issues & leadership: Beyond business as usual

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Friday, March 1, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Ford City Council sees spending more than $1 million on a new water plant as the best alternative to an ailing plant. During the same meeting at which council discussed staying in the water business, a part-time policeman's resignation was accepted and the mayor said such turnover is to be expected.

In Kittanning, local leaders are looking at better alternatives to move traffic and park cars as ways to revitalize the business district.

In the larger view of things, it's reported that four of every 10 state residents live in financially distressed municipalities. And a Pennsylvania Economy League official predicts things will only get worse.

According to published accounts, there's a lack of political will for distressed and financially viable communities to consider mergers. But if mergers aren't the answer, what is?

State Sen. John Wozniak, D-Johnstown, blames the lack of solutions on weak leadership in municipalities. “You can't keep electing the same people and expect different results,” he says.

That's because we don't “farm” good leadership.

Typically, candidates win local elections on name recognition. The political parties and concerned citizens in our hometowns need to identify people to run for councils who will build political will and take the long view.

Staying in the water business and playing with traffic flow may be part of a solution — but not the whole picture.

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