Yes, Dear Readers, it is that time again (with apologies). Indeed, in these waning days of our Lord’s year 2016, it is time for your only locally indebted and appreciative newspaper owner to wax philosophical on his new year’s resolutions for the year of our Lord 2017.

In previous new year’s resolution efforts, I’ve offered a number of resolutions of things I either hoped to accomplish or thought I might – and quite a few fearless predictions for the coming year. Not so for 2017. Nope. I’m just not gonna do it.

As we approach the midnight hour of the Times Square Large Spherical Descent, there will be no commitments, pledges, promises or predictions of things left unaccomplished in the coming year. Been there. Done it.

Instead, let’s look ahead to things not to be resolved and not to be predicted, shall we? For starters, in 2017, let’s all resolve not to ask Hillsboro City Council members Bill Alexander, Tracy Aranyos, Dick Donley, Justin Harsha, Claudia Klein, Lee Koogler, Ann Morris and Rebecca Wilkin any of these questions:

• Do you – collectively or individually – think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for any Hillsboro resident (or non-resident, as the case may be) to use city-leased Dumpsters for personal use at a substantial increase in costs to city taxpayers?

Please explain your answer in detail. Even though this is framed as a “yes” or “no” question, as public officials, you ought to be able to support your answers – be they affirmative or negative. (And, please, don’t bring up any recent weak-kneed jury verdict.)

But of course, I have already resolved not to ask that question. Not that I would expect a direct answer from the Elite Eight of the HCC. (If you want answers, you’ll have to ask your own questions in 2017.)

• Do you – collectively or individually – as members of council think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for someone to continue to receive taxpayers’ money in the form of wages and benefits after tampering with public records? Again, even though this is framed as a “yes” or “no” question, please explain your answer in detail.

But of course, I have resolved not to ask that question.

• Do you – collectively or individually – think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for the city to lose – in the course of one week – its chief of police and its safety and service director, both of whom the city administration has praised for years?

But of course, I have resolved not to ask that question.

• Do you – collectively or individually – think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for the city taxpayers to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside legal fees for what any reasonable mind would consider governmental incompetence – at the very least?

But of course, I have resolved not to ask that question.

• Do you – collectively or individually – think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for the city taxpayers to pay any city employee more than the prescribed salary and wage mandates previously authorized by city council?

But of course, I have resolved not to ask that question.

• Do you – collectively or individually – think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for the city to have selective enforcement of any city codes or ordinances?

But of course, I have resolved not to ask that question.

• Do you – collectively or individually – think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for city commissions or boards to meet without proper notification?

But of course, I have resolved not to ask that question.

• Do you – collectively or individually – think it is ethically, morally and legally acceptable for the city to approve any actions taken in a secret meeting of said commissions or boards?

But of course, I have resolved not to ask that question. Not that I would expect a direct answer to this or any previous questions.

In addition to resolving not to ask any of these questions from the current members of the Hillsboro City Council, let’s also resolve in 2017 not to ask any of these questions to any new candidate(s) for Hillsboro City Council in the coming election year.

Let’s face it, a precedent has been well-established in city government. It’s called Hear No Evil. See No Evil. And Speak No Evil. It also applies to a popular political central committee.

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2017 predictions (or not)

Here are just a few predictions that I am not making for 2017…

• I do not predict that the county will again seek a new tax at some point in 2017 in order to balance its budget – due to an ever-increasing demand for Children Services and related expenses.

• I do not predict that the Ohio General Assembly and Gov. John Kasich will work to offset the significant losses in tax dollars related to Obama’s cuts in taxes on certain Medicaid-related purchases. Nor do I predict the governor will release some of the billions of dollars in the “Rainy Day Fund” for those rural counties that will see major hits in their respective
budgets after July 1, 2017.

• I also do not predict that the Southern State Community College Board of Trustees and administration will seek to pass a five-county tax levy in 2017, particularly when they consider that some of the college’s five counties (Adams, Brown, Clinton, Fayette and Highland) have household incomes well below the state and federal averages.

• I also do not predict that the local Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party will voice a serious
objection to any new taxes in 2017.

Carry on, and Happy New Year.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, the only locally owned and operated newspaper in Highland County.