Though much has been written about the Saline County/City of Salina impasse over the health department building, I think the real problem is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. The elephant? The future of Salina and Saline County.
For instance, spending and investing are, in reality, just different sides of the same coin. It just depends on where one is standing in life when observing the coin.
At age thirty, borrowing money to buy a big house and a van for the growing family aren’t expenditures as much as investments in the future, a future predicated almost exclusively on hope and faith in oneself. I don’t care who you are. There is absolutely no proof that anything is going to work out financially. One has nothing other than a belief in themselves, their potential, and the future itself. In short, it’s called optimism.
At age eighty, for all practical purposes, there is no tomorrow, no future, and optimism has left the building. Under such circumstances, one doesn’t borrow to buy a family van or a big house, or invest cash long-term. In fact, the opposite is true. Cash out, hunker down, make use of what you’ve got and hope it doesn’t run out. Don’t take any chances. That’s how it is for most.
Replace the worn out car – Why? It’s truly a waste of cash since you might be dead before you hit the first light on the way home from the dealership. Put new roof on the house? Makes more sense to just patch the hole instead and focus on staying alive until the next rain.
Cities are no different than people. They have a lifespan and our county is an old man. As such, I find myself siding with the Saline County Commissioners to just fix the old building.
As a retired CEO, I know that one of the most important aspects of responsible leadership is not lying to oneself. We’re not looking at the investing side of the coin anymore and haven’t been for a long, long time. It’s just the spending side, because there is no future for a Salina that doesn’t grow, and it doesn’t.
What’s obvious to me is that the county guys are at least willing to tacitly admit that Salina’s/Saline County’s heydays aren’t coming back anytime soon. As for those optimistic youngsters on the city commission and over at the health department? Well, it doesn’t hurt to dream.
Salina’s feel-good guys can yak all day long, and yak they do. The fact is that the progress train of the 20th century, so embraced by the cities surrounding us that were willing to invest in their futures, isn’t coming back to see if we changed our mind about getting on. Hats off to the county commissioners for embracing the light.
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