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Jun. 02, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

THUMBS UP: Councilman Charles Taylor

Municipalities all over are struggling to work out budgetary issues. Charles Taylor, serving his second term on Sanford's City Council, has been a bright spot in suggesting ways the city could save money - including proposing reductions in pay and travel per diem rates for the city's elected officials.

Taylor's fellow council members, despite looking at a vote that would increase property taxes for city residents, didn't take the bait. One, J.D. Williams, even hinted at a pay raise for the council.

“It is very ironic that Mr. Williams, who one week ago spoke against a policy that would have put us in a position to be more frugal as a board and sensitive to the employees, now complains about the loss of the employee luncheon and lack of cost of living raise,” said Taylor, referring to a discussion at a council meeting about a city employee meal trimmed from the fiscal 2013-14 budget proposed by City Manager Hal Hegwer. “...It is time for us to lead, to set an example not fold under our own greed and selfishness."

Taylor's attempts to generate discussion about the budget are an example on this board. We hope others listen, and follow.

THUMBS UP: Belk's 125th anniversary

This week, the Belk department store chain celebrated its 125th anniversary. That's an amazing accomplishment. Then consider that the Charlotte-based retailer has had a business presence in Sanford since 1910.

"This has been one of the sustaining anchors in Sanford for a very long time," said Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive.

Businesses come and go. That's part of the cycle. But for a business to have continued in operation for as long as Belk shows that it has remained a relevant part of our culture.

"Even through the hard times, they're expanding, " says Charlie Parks, chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners. "They keep growing."

And, we hope they will keep growing ... and going ... for a long, long time.

THUMBS UP: Gay 90s luncheon

The Gay 90s luncheon, held this week at the Enrichment Center, almost didn't occur thanks to budget cuts caused by the federal sequester. But thanks to some generous individuals and at least one business, this annual program to honor Lee County's oldest citizens did take place.

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive was in attendance. So was Charlie Parks, chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners. So did Master of Ceremonies Margaret Murchison of WWGP radio.

The most important guests, however, were people like William Waddell and Mildred Waltman, who were recognized as the oldest man and woman at the luncheon.

It was a joyous occasion -- a time to recognize and celebrate Lee County's oldest generation. As Parks told the audience, "You raise my spirits every time I come; it's a joy ..."

Let's hope that this grand event will continue for years to come.