Set Priorities In Steubenville

Steubenville City Councilman Bob Villamagna could have been speaking for any number of local officials in our area on Tuesday, when he burst out that he is “getting sick and tired of hearing what we can’t do.”

Municipal and county officials often grow frustrated at the constraints of local rules, state and federal laws – and money.

Villamagna’s comment was made during a discussion of enforcing a two-hour parking limit in the city’s downtown business district. Many communities have such rules in order to ensure customers of businesses can find places to park. Villamagna worries that if Steubenville does not enforce its limit, some store owners will go elsewhere.

“Whatever we do, we have to find a way to enforce the parking laws,” Villamagna said.

Police Chief Bill McCafferty told council members his department does not have enough officers to handle foot patrols downtown, however. That was what spurred Villamagna’s frustrated comment.

Of course, if council members order McCafferty to have the business district patrolled, he will do so. But the chief has to set priorities, among them fighting violent crime. Perhaps he and council members should discuss priorities to ensure everyone is in agreement. In the course of such a conversation, it is even possible another way of enforcing the parking limit can be found.