HOLYOKE – The city’s finances took a central part in the address made by Mayor Alex Morse at the inauguration for his third term in office on Jan. 4.
Morse’s ceremony was attended by more than 100 people and was conducted in City Hall Auditorium. Morse took the oath of office as well as the City Council and the School Committee.
Morse also made a point of acknowledging the sometimes adversarial relationship his administration has had with other elected officials and critics.
One guest to the ceremony was Evan Falchuk, the former gubernatorial candidate and the founder of UIP, the Commonwealth’s third political party. Falchuk told Reminder Publications he attended the vent to show his support for the election of Ward 2 City Councilor Nelson Roman who is a member of the party.
Speaking of new initiatives Morse said, “One issue that will require the immediate attention of the City Council is the city’s structural budget deficit. This issue doesn’t make for attention-grabbing headlines. It’s not something voters get excited about. And I know any conversation about the budget will be a sensitive one, because we all care about preserving the basic functions of government that people rely on. But we need to acknowledge that no other issue will have more of an impact on our long-term goals than this one.
“I want us, the mayor and the Council, to accept this challenge as an opportunity to make history and eliminate the structural deficit for the first time in decades.”
He added, “As we straighten out our city’s finances, let us also work together to make City Hall more effective and efficient by supporting a commonsense restructuring of city departments. I have said before, and I’ll say again this morning: the type of 21st century economy we are building in Holyoke needs a 21st century city government. This can be the year we finally make that a reality.”
Morse continued, “Perhaps most importantly, let us also continue to make smart public investments that will make Holyoke a stronger, more just, more prosperous community. Through strategic investments, we will create new jobs, offer our people greater economic security and give more of our residents ladders into the middle class.”
Morse offered his critics an olive branch by saying, “I know sometimes our politics can be divisive. I know that when times feel uncertain, and folks feel anxious about their own lives and futures, we can tend to turn away from each other, and to become skeptical of the notion that our government can really solve complex challenges in a fair way. And let’s face it: we live in a diverse city, with vastly different neighborhoods with vastly different needs. Sometimes, it isn’t obvious how the benefit to one part of Holyoke benefits another part of town. I get it.
“But for all our differences and disagreements, I still believe we are all in this together. I believe we can make government more accessible to everyone. I believe we can make sure our new prosperity benefits us all. I believe we can help all of our people thrive, and allow of our children the opportunities to make of their lives what they will. And I believe that together we can rise to meet any challenge we face.”
Morse noted that he recently was given a copy of the book, “Love Letters to a Paper City: Poems of History, Myth and Un-forgetting” by poet Melinda Thomas and said the inscription described the city as “a place where we can all be neighbors.”
Morse said, “As we begin this new term, let us be neighbors to one another. When we disagree, let us do so respectfully. When we agree, let us act for the common good. Let us care for each other, and for the life we share together in this beautiful place. Let us continue the work we are in and remind people throughout the state, the region and the nation just why we love the city of Holyoke, and why we are blessed to call it our home.”