No doubt Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci and many others in municipal government remember with little fondness their situation just a few years ago. There were serious questions about how the city's budget could be balanced.
Financial challenges linger. But, as Mucci's annual State of the City speech this week reflected, there seems to be a new confidence they can be overcome.?That may well come from experience during the past few years.
As Mucci noted, the city's 2013 budget included a projected shortfall of $2.4 million. But that gap between revenue and spending was closed, even as noticeable progress was made in some aspects of local government.
Mucci warned those attending his speech that obstacles remain to be overcome. He added, however, "I truly believe we are headed in the right direction."
It certainly seems so. Accomplishments by the city's various departments, outlined by the mayor, were impressive. Problems that had been ongoing, including some affecting the water department, are being overcome.
Perhaps the most serious test facing Steubenville residents is trafficking in illegal drugs. Though city, county, state and even federal law enforcement agencies frequently apprehend pushers, more always seem waiting in line to take their places.
The drug thugs are both violent and arrogant. As one Steubenville resident told City Council this week, drug activity is rampant in his area. "I have found threatening notes on my car. I have been verbally assaulted for standing up for the neighborhood."
During his speech, Mucci asked Steubenville residents and business people to get involved in moving the city forward. Specifically, he asked for attendance at a public meeting to discuss implementation of a new comprehensive plan. It is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 7 at the visitors center across from the city building.
Mucci is right. Whether the issue is economic development, water system improvements - or driving violent drug pushers out of the city - Steubenville residents' help is essential.