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Editor's View: City grappling with tough budget issues

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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It’s always interesting to see what gems sit in my inbox after returning from a week-long vacation. There are usually press releases, photos and a few letters. In some of those letters, there are always those who believe the media is in cahoots with local leaders and businesses to suppress information. Let’s take a look at Folsom’s budget (details of which were not released by press time). The City Council was due to hear a presentation Tuesday night on how staff recommends grappling with a multi-million dollar deficit. Conspiracy theorists in the community believe we are suppressing the planned cuts. As a newspaper editor, I strive to make sure we don’t publish speculation. Until the official budget is released, that’s all it would be. With no official budget in place, there is no budget story to report and no details to keep hidden. One anonymous letter claimed we, as the city’s newspaper, were continuing to make sure the budget “was the best kept secret in town.” By the time you read this, it will not be a secret. As the newspaper of record for Folsom, we report facts. Department heads may have been asked to submit plans on how to trim their budgets, but we don’t report on “what ifs” and “maybes.” Now that the proposed budget is out in the open, we can begin to do what we do — report on how these cuts, changes or cost-shifts will affect our readers. If you have an opinion on the matter of the city’s budget and how you might be affected, I want to hear from you. Drop me an e-mail at donc@goldcountrymedia.com or call me at (916) 351-3753. I’m not looking for “anonymous” sources, but people who are willing to stand behind their words. It’s easy to take shots at organizations and individuals if your name isn’t behind it, but it’s something else entirely if you take ownership. When I’m in shopping at Trader Joe’s on E. Bidwell Street or at Walmart on Riley (or having lunch at Hop Sing), and a reader approaches me, they know I stand behind my words. New, old face at FEDCorp The Folsom Economic Development Corporation (FEDCorp) has always struggled with an identity issue, according to a press release issued by the organization. “It’s not part of the city although it has a close working relationship. It’s been the backbone of economic growth in Folsom yet gets little recognition,” the release states. This year, newly elected FEDCorp Chairman Steve Miklos has a goal of putting a spotlight on FEDCorp to emphasize its importance to the city. Such attention will help boost the organization’s success at its core mission, the financial stability of Folsom. “How does Folsom do it? is a question I get asked by regional leaders,” said Miklos, regarding the city’s success at continuing to be a Sacramento area economic leader. He credits the business-minded approach of the Folsom City Council and business professionals and CEOs who sit on the board of FEDCorp. “We are still building here in Folsom when no one else is,” he said, in the press release. “Folsom has below 5 percent unemployment — one of the lowest in the region.” FEDCorp directors have a double identity — they sit as directors on the Folsom Tourism Bureau. Newly elected Tourism Bureau Chairman Robert Holderness is charged with energizing tourism — a growing economic segment for Folsom, the release states. Folsom, with its “recreational opportunities with two lakes, miles of paved cycling and hiking trails, world-known Folsom Prison and popular events such as the Folsom Pro Rodeo, has what it needs for tourism. It just needs to spread the word,” the release states. “We are a destination for weekend visitors who enjoy our lakes, our hiking and biking trails, our historic area, our fine restaurants and hotels, and a visit to our famous, historic prison. We also serve as a place to stay or visit on the way to Lake Tahoe,” said Holderness. Managing Editor Don Chaddock’s column publishes weekly. Follow him on Twitter @anewsguy or e-mail him at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.