In this time of global economic crisis, we are confronted by extraordinary challenges that require us to come together, as a community, to reconfirm our priorities and define the kind of city we want to be. These shared goals are expressed each year in our city budget. It spells out our needs, quantifies what we can afford, and sets in motion the initiatives and corrective measures that will keep us on a true course. These are difficult times and we will be trying to lessen the tax burden on our residents while maintaining the high level of services we have come to expect in West Park. We face the same economic impacts as national, state and county governments. Our city requires that we provide a balanced budget with a reasonable fund balance for emergencies and security of our community. As a commission we will review expenses and revenues carefully to protect your money as wisely and prudently as possible. Our two sources of income are state mandated property taxes and fees associated with services, sales and applicable permits and licenses, some of which have had significant reductions due to economic conditions.
As your Commission, we are committed to sustaining the important financial reforms that have provided for the stability and credibility of our City. Whatever circumstances we face, be assured that we, with the capable guidance of our city Manager will run this City in a fiscally responsible way and keep our pact with the public to put their interests before all others. We will seek a City budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13, in the strong belief that we will continue the process of fundamental reform, that provides the surest path to overcoming the City’s financial challenges, one that respects both the interests of the taxpayers and our responsibility to future generations.
Finances can be a great challenge for all of us. Or, perhaps I should say, MOST of us. One guy said: “I never worry about money. I have enough to last me the rest of my life – unless I buy something.” I heard the story of a wife who had been working over next year’s budget, poring over figures all night. She came out to her husband, who was sitting in the family room watching TV, and said, “Well I’ve worked out the budget, now you work out a raise.” I guess he decided he would have a go at the budget so he worked on it the next night. He came into the kitchen and told her, “Well, I’ve worked it out but I need a little help. I’ve figured what we’ll need for food, clothing, and shelter. We have a choice of any two.” I earnestly believe that we, too, might not get all that we want but we will have all that we need.
I read something very interesting about the dollar bill that I thought I’d share. The one dollar bill came off the presses in 1957 in its present design. This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it. It is actually material. We’ve all washed it without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never know. It is with overprinted symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.
If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the United States Treasury Seal. On the top you will see the scales for balance – a balanced budget. In the center you have a carpenter’s T-square, a tool used for an even cut. Underneath is the Key to the United States Treasury. That’s all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is something we should all know.
If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal. It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved.
If you look at the left hand circle, you will see a Pyramid. Notice the face is lighted and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization. The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity.
It was Franklin’s belief that one man couldn’t do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything. “IN GOD WE TRUST” is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means “God has favored our undertaking.” The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means “a new order has begun.”
At the base of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776. If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States. It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida National Cemetery and is the centerpiece of most hero’s monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet no one knows what the symbols mean.
The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons: first, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong and he is smart enough to soar above it. Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of England. Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation. In the Eagle’s beak you will read, “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” meaning “one nation from many people.”
Above the Eagle you have thirteen stars representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Again, we were coming together as one. Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows. They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number. This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13 in any hotels or motels with a 13th floor.
But, think about the significance of this number: 13 original colonies, 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 13 stripes on our flag, 13 steps on the Pyramid, 13 letters in the Latin above, 13 letters in “E Pluribus Unum”, 13 stars above the Eagle, 13 plumes of feathers on each span of the Eagle’s wing, 13 bars on that shield, 13 leaves on the olive branch, 13 fruits, and if you look closely, 13 arrows. And for minorities: the 13th Amendment.
Just a little something I thought you would like to know.
In closing I have always found that people are most productive in small teams with tight budgets, time lines and the freedom to solve their own problems. The current state of the economy has placed additional pressures on everyone’s budget, and local government has not escaped that pressure. As we seek to maintain a consistent and quality level of services we must make sound fiscally responsible decisions. The challenges facing any government in an urban setting are great; to confirm this, one only needs to read the newspapers to see the fiscal troubles facing local townships and cities throughout the Country. Although we are a small group, chosen by you to move our city forward we know that with your understanding and support we will do that.
Enjoy the rest of your summer as we look forward to another successful year.
GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS THE CITY OF WEST PARK.