When planning for the future, patience is a must


Happy New Year!

From the definition of cliffhanger, that line doesn’t really fit. It didn’t build much suspense or really leave you waiting for the next episode.

If like me, though, you enjoyed “Between the Lions” on PBS with your kids in the early 2000s, it might be the start to “The Adventures of Cliff Hanger Episode 2020” (don’t forget to read that line in an announcer voice). Before we finish with Cliff Hanger, let’s talk about the last week.

Each week has plenty of meetings. This week, I was able to participate in the Jackson County Education Coalition meeting, Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. meeting and meetings with citizens, staff and other area elected officials.

While each group has its own role, it is that time of year where we find ourselves talking about budgets in several different meetings. Sometimes, it is proposed budgets, and other times, it is more about adjusting to finish out the current budget.

The board of public works and safety met recently to cast votes related to topics from sewer bill adjustments to work order changes on some of our major projects in 2020. Whether it is requesting to use city space for something like a food truck for a few hours or spending tax dollars due to a needed change from the contract, the board of public works and safety is often a required vote.

This week, I helped pick up the new school resource officer cars for the Seymour Police Department. As we work to start a true rotation on vehicles, these are the last two from the 2020 purchases to get us on track.

This week, we also planted an oak tree in memory of former parks director Nedra Short. It was our honor to help the family with this tribute. It should provide shade for generations to come in a park that Nedra helped create.

Back to Cliff from the opening line, Happy New Year seems way out of place since it is October. Serving as mayor is not a sprint. It is closer to an ultramarathon. Typically, we are looking six weeks to six years or more down the road on any topic.

Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes, you have to react to a situation and take care of the problem now. Normally, though, you are planning on what is beyond someone’s imagination. Oftentimes, someone will get angry that we aren’t doing a project right now. When you are planning for the future, you have to remember patience is a must.

This year, for example, we needed to collect traffic data for a future project. The problem was, during the shutdown due to COVID-19, traffic was not normal. We had to spend a little extra to collect that data from a pre-COVID time frame. Now, as the engineers work, they will have a more accurate amount of traffic to base their designs on.

Other projects can often change how we feel about an area. Right now, U.S. 50 is the only Interstate 65 exit available in or out of Seymour. Would it be wise of us to analyze that traffic count in the middle of two major road construction projects? No. The numbers would be skewed due to Exit 55 being closed.

In a normal episode of “The Adventures of Cliff Hanger,” this is where he would break out his trusty survival guide and realize it is best to practice patience and not throw extra money at certain topics until current projects are complete.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds when you are planning for years instead of days. Saint Augustine said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom.”

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].

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