Our View: Plymouth’s plight shows democracy in action

December 22nd, 2017 8:56 pm

• Diamonds, and we’re going to be generous with them today since Christmas is nigh, to Plymouth borough council members for taking the time to hear out their constituents.

We’re sure it’s not a great feeling to sit behind a table at a public meeting and get yelled at for more than an hour.

But you know what? The budget battle in Plymouth is the perfect microcosm of how democracy works.

It’s messy. There’s a lot of yelling. And it can get frustrating at times for everyone involved.

In the end, though, the people of the borough had their say and it forced council to change its stance.

Now, Plymouth appears ready to keep all of its fire companies open, maintain its current level of fire staffing, plus expand its police ranks.

To pay for all that, taxes are going up nearly 18 percent. Most residents who showed up at recent contentious meetings didn’t seem to mind they would be paying more, so they are getting their wish.

All that being said, Plymouth’s population will not be able to handle an 18 percent hike every year.

Council is going to have to come up with another solution for fire and police coverage. And to us, the answer is simple: Cooperative agreements with nearby municipalities.

• Plenty of diamonds to everyone involved in making an arrest this week in the Gertrude Price homicide.

Price, 97, was beaten to death in her Nanticoke home on Thanksgiving night in 2013.

Her neighbor at the time, Anthony Joseph Spudis, has now been charged with killing her during what prosecutors describe as a break-in gone wrong.

Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis used exactly the right word when she described the crime as “heinous.”

The arrest is not only important for the quest to get justice for Price. It sends a message, loud and clear, that certain acts will not be tolerated and the long arm of the law doesn’t care if it’s been four years or 44 years.

• Cost-cutting diamonds to county Manager C. David Pedri and everyone else who played a role in reducing the size of the county’s previously bloated workforce.

The nugget that grabbed our attention during Pedri’s year-end public forum Wednesday: the county once employed 2,100, but the 2018 budget authorizes only 1,546 positions.

That’s a very taxpayer-friendly piece of news right there.

And we would bet the current 1,500 or so county employees are doing the same amount or even more than the 2,100 used to do.

Efficiency in government? Keep it up, please.

• We were also impressed this week with a small event honoring several Larksville police officers who were promoted.

All three — Shawn Reilly, Joshua Evans and Matthew Stitzer — had their families present for a pinning ceremony as Reilly and Evans became sergeants and Stitzer a juvenile detective. The borough also singled out Officer Craig Cebrick for completing 245 hours of specialized training last year.

Little Larksville, population about 4,400, may not matter much to someone from a metropolis like New York City or Chicago.

But thousands and thousands of small towns like it, from sea to shining sea, form the backbone of our nation.

And an officer working somewhere like Larksville has a job just as important as a cop patrolling a major urban center.

It’s good to see our local heroes getting recognized.

— Times Leader

Resident Cheryl McMann gets a little heated at a recent Plymouth council meeting where fire protection and the 2018 budget were discussed. Fred Adams | For Times Leader
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/web1_ply1_faa.jpgResident Cheryl McMann gets a little heated at a recent Plymouth council meeting where fire protection and the 2018 budget were discussed. Fred Adams | For Times Leader