Considering all that has happened in 2011, last December and its predictions for the year seem like a long time ago.
We expected only a slight rebound in the economy and got much more. We expected to see housing construction continue at a slow pace and it almost dried up entirely.
The Missouri General Assembly managed another session without devastating the state with Draconian funding cuts. It looks like the worst is behind us.
The coming year will not be pretty, as there will be winners and losers. The TIF suit should be resolved. It is very likely Monett will prevail, the defendants will not have their questions answered by the appeals courts and will feel they have not received a fair shake in the end.
Political storm clouds will shape the year. Those seeking to unseat the ones in power will paint a dismal picture of the world, salvageable only by throwing the other guys out. They will not let facts get in the way or acknowledge the economic rebound we have documented locally.
Their goal will be to send a shudder through the populace and scare the gradual recovery into a freeze. They will probably succeed in stopping new home construction from making a comeback before 2013. Small business operators won't know what to expect, and if they don't expand in the first half of the year, they are likely to grow too cautious to act until the shouting dies down.
The political season will be ugly. It may take some time to determine if anyone really wins. For that matter, at this late date, we're still not sure if our Congressman is representing anybody outside of the city of Springfield, which is hardly an endorsement for another term.
In 2012 we should some movement in Monett on the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) Initiative. Because Monett is serious about Pride and Progress issues, we expect the city will seriously encourage stepping forward. Our business leaders will do well to take each other's hands and go for it. While other communities are frozen, opportunity knocks.
We've had two years without floods. We really want two more, though that's a lot to ask for.
The pleasant surprise in 2011 came from the Monett R-1 Board of Education. Guiding the public to an upgrade of Monett Elementary, the leadership in the school district once again delivered a very satisfying product. The rollout next week of laptops for every Monett High School student is extraordinary and revolutionary. It's jumps like these that make a year ago seem like a long time off.
The opening of the new Monett Area YMCA in 2012 will again change Monett's landscape in an exciting way.
We have every reason to be optimistic for 2012, even though the gloom-and-doomers will be hard at work. Cutting through the fog will become a major task for everyone. There's no better tool for doing that than with a newspaper. Your Monett Times will be there for you. Stick around for the ride.