The complexity of local budget cuts. What now?

When you face the possibility of losing something that matters to you, its actual value is most felt. Because of just such a scenario, I'm thinking of these levels of attachment today. Thoughts on acknowledging value vs. things taken for granted.

Local budget cuts nearly took away a festival in which I have frequently participated. Through a series of emails sent to various groups of local potters, I learned that the elimination of Gerry Alfano's position as the City Beautiful Coordinator was among the recently proposed budget "improvements" for our city. I learned this morning that the City Council already met and that this position was, indeed spared. Other important matters, including a multicultural festival, a portion of the job that overseas the Commission on the Status of Women, and a program that works to build better race relations, along with several others, according to an article in today's News & Record, were not so fortunate.

I'm left thinking of how little I know about what it takes to run a city. I'm thinking of how little involvement I personally have in a place I've called my home for quite a few years.

In spite of my concern over the cuts that will be official until June 20, and additional questions of how the accompanying approved tax hike will be received by others in this city, I'm happy that Gerry's position is intact. Because of her ability to juggle details I cannot conceive of, I have been able to participate in the Triad Area Pottery Festivals on many occasions. And whether I have sold much or little, and whether the City of Greensboro has observed the value by way of fiscal profit, in The Greensboro Farmers' Curb Market, these festivals have enriched many of our lives in ways that matter a great deal to this city.

A state known for its fine pottery, festivals such as these help to make people aware that it's not Seagrove residents alone, or Roan Mountain potters who corner the NC market on quality clay art. This accomplishment is seen in the membership of the Carolina Clay Guild, for example, many of whom also exhibit at these twice-yearly markets. I'm told by those who visit my booths that locals appreciate not having to drive to other cities to find such fine pottery.

The pottery festival and other events held throughout the year help to sort of anchor the standard farmers' market fare. It's a meeting place for locals, and just as we watch the evolution of downtown revitalization efforts, we see so much value in this longtime resource, as well.

As I sort of ramble on today, I realize my "commercial for our little market" will seem out of place in the timeline. A bit dated...perhaps overdue and ineffectual. But it's just on the heels of my learning that this position will not be eliminated that I'm reassessing my own actions toward a market I have perhaps taken for granted. Inactions, some might say. I think of this market as a place where I can go when it suits me and when I'm there, my time will always be well spent. And my money, as I support local merchants. But is that enough?

This recent scare leaves me with much to think about. 

Links of possible interest: