Annual address offers look at city

When one really stops and thinks about it, Steubenville has managed to stay afloat in some very trying times.

Have all the streets been smoothed over? No.

Do water lines never break? No.

Do the police manage to be everywhere at once to arrest every thug before the crime is committed? No.

But in doing the same with less, Steubenville has done well, and then some. It can be hard to accept that the city is not able to do what it once did, the result of a decline in state revenue sharing perhaps even more than the decline of the local economy, but the reality is there is less to do at least the same job with.

The physical size of the city didn’t shrink though the steel industry is all but gone. The areas to be patrolled have not changed despite a decline in overall inhabited residences during the past few decades.

We thank Mayor Domenick Mucci for making his state of the city address and putting the current picture into clear focus for residents, though not many attended the speech.

The city managed to collect more than $14 million in utility bills during 2013. It handled more than 160 weed and litter complaints. It continues to provide health services, clean water, sanitation pickup and street maintenance despite having a smaller overall work force than it had several years ago.

It is continuing to plan for the future, taking care of longstanding issues such as traffic along the narrow Lovers Lane in the West End, working toward permanent environmental closure of its landfill (unused since the early 1980s), as well as working with the business community to ensure growth and development continues.

Crime continues to be an issue, with but 38 police officers holding back the tide. Is it always effective? Officers will say they’re doing what they can and residents will say there’s always more to be done, but working with police officers is the best way to make sure crime is reported, properly handled and criminals are removed from society.

The police department made 1,923 arrests in 2013. That amounts to 5.27 arrests a day. That means a number equivalent to more than 10 percent of the city’s population (rated at 18,440 by the Census bureau in 2011) is in the hands of the police, and still criminals are rampant in parts of town.

It says enforcement is not the lone issue in ridding the streets of crime. It says citizens have to continue to be proactive in reporting crime and asking for answers.

And realizing they live in a city that, though diminished in some respects, still has a core of people who care, a government that is trying, and a future that can look brighter.