(Sung to the tune of the traditional Christmas favorite except for a few random bars here and there which are best delivered slightly off key).

On the first day of Christmas, this is what we need:

A big change in our civic attitude.

On the second day of Christmas, this is what we need:

A true two-party system (so all races are contested) and one bright new positive attitude.

On the third day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Three new commissioners ('cause we're sick of all that bickering), a true two-party system and a big change in our civic attitude (down with naysayers).

On the fourth day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Four community foundations (to cure our social ills), three new commissioners, a true two-party system (to get the people voting) and a happy heart with cheery optimism.

On the fifth day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Five new hotels. Four foundations, civility at the courthouse, a true two-party system and a final end to negativity.

On the sixth day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Six litter busters (to defeat illegal dumpers), five new hotels (for the AOAA), four community foundations, good manners at the county, a true two-party system (to fill all ballot positions) and a big change in our civic attitude.

On the seventh day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Seven bags of sewer funding (to protect the people's wallets), six litter busters, five new hotels (for Knoebels visits, too), four community foundations, three new commissioners, a true two-party system and a big change in our personal attitudes.

On the eighth day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Eight truth-tellers (to let us know our status), seven bags of sewer funding (fishies return to creek), six litter busters (to get rid of roadside garbage), five new hotels, money for culture, better commish behavior, a true two-party system and a big change in our civic attitude.

On the ninth day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Nine financial wizards (to cure our fiscal problems), eight truth-tellers (to look us in the eye), seven bags of sewer funding (so folks don't pay forever), six litter busters (hang up dumpers by their heels), five new hotels, community foundations, a new county board, a true two-party system and a healthy dose of civic pride.

On the 10th day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Ten more volunteers for every local project (so the active few don't get burnout), nine financial wizards (who can actually balance a checkbook), eight truth-tellers (to tell it like it is), seven bags of sewer funding (just like sweet parfum), six litter busters (to encourage more recycling), five new hotels, four more foundations (need more culture); wise up, Vinny, Shoch and Bridy; a true two-party system (so we all have some choices) and a big change in our civic attitude.

On the 11th day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Eleven million dollars to fund urban renewal (so downtowns can look pretty), 10 more volunteers (to keep our progress moving), nine financial wizards (to protect our hard-earned dollars), eight truth-tellers (say goodbye to BS), seven bags of sewer funding (to meet our government mandates), six litter busters (toss the pigs in jail), five new hotels, four community foundations, three new commissioners, a true two-party system and reversal of our negative attitude.

On the 12th day of Christmas, this is what we need:

Twelve entrepreneurs (for businesses that create jobs); 11 million dollars to tear down dumpy buildings; more volunteers (to help make things better); nine financial wizards (who will ably guard our money); eight truth-tellers (to cut through all that blarney), seven bags of sewer funding (so privy use won't cost much), six litter busters (to create good first impressions), five new hotels; four community foundations, three new commissioners (at least a change of heart), a true two-party system (that debates all local issues) and a happy, healthy, generous attitude.

(Jake Betz is an assistant editor of The News-Item.)