Finding the rays of sunshine in the storm

Published 1:23 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Editorial by Dawn Burleigh


As I sit and listen to the rain again, I wonder when was the last time we did not have to deal with the precipitation from the sky.

The moisture from those dreaded black clouds is becoming a daily experience for us. It began with afternoon showers we could almost set our clocks by. Hmmm, it is almost three o’clock, better hurry because by 5 o’clock there will be another downpour.

However, the miserable weather is not a reason to look negatively at our surroundings.

Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us and sometimes, we just have to dig a little deeper to find the rays of sunshine.

Such as with the words of the City of Orange City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre at the Tuesday Orange City Council meeting, “We are hoping the bids [for health care costs] will bring good news.”

I commend Oubre and the city staff for being realistic in the numbers for the proposed budget and meeting the request of the council to make it work without laying off any city employees.

While the proposed tax rate is higher, the budget is only a proposed budget.

Proposed means to put forward (an idea or plan) for consideration or discussion by others. One must have a starting point in order to move forward. This budget is just that, a starting point.

The City of Orange has not raised taxes in three years. They have made do or covered increases, such as health care insurance, without passing the increase onto the employees or the citizens.

A potential of a 20 percent increase for health costs is one of those dreaded storm clouds. However, the city is not caving into the storm but instead plowing forward while searching for viable options.

Budgeting is not fun or easy. We all know this as we each have to live on a budget to make sure bills are paid on time, have food on the table and gasoline in the vehicles.

One way citizens can help the city is to remember to shop locally. Sales tax revenue varies from month to month, so not as easy for a government entity to budget with while reviewing the figures, but can help guide them.

I know you have seen the campaigns by the local chambers encouraging everyone to shop Orange County first. It does make a difference.

Outside companies, looking to relocate, research how residents spend their money. Do they support local companies? Do they shop here or elsewhere? Why are they traveling 25 miles to buy a shirt or a cup of coffee instead of purchasing the items near home?

During an interview a couple of years ago concerning shopping locally, a gentleman asked me when was the last time Amazon did something for me locally?

It also brought to mind the tax revenue for the school districts. It was this thought which really grabbed my attention and encouraged me to remind others to shop locally.

I have had personal experience with school systems outside of the county. My husband and I made a list of what we wanted in a house when we started shopping for a home. The first item on the list was the school system. I was so adamant on the school district, I had to tell the school we lived within the boundaries when it said we were in another school district.

We do have good schools here. Why would I want to give money to Beaumont ISD? Or PNG? Or Nederland ISD or Port Arthur ISD? I want to invest in our children here.


Dawn Burleigh is editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at