With candidates being asked questions about city finances, none will step up and face facts. All say they don’t want service cuts or tax increases — that scenario is impossible! Revenue has leveled off at about $8 million. Spending levels for 2015 and 2016 current and proposed of around $9.4 million and almost $9.1 million, respectively, will eventually eliminate carryover. Even 1,000 new jobs at $40,000 each and 1.25 percent income tax would only result in $0.5 million; the 2017 budget will need to be cut from $9.1 million (2016 budget) to about $7.9 million, a $1.2 million drop; $0.35 million could be covered by eliminating street paving again, leaving a $0.825 million deficit. About 72 percent of budget is salaries — to cover $0.825 million with salary eliminations, there would need to be about 29 city jobs cut, and that affects services!
Any candidate proposing no cut in services and no tax increase is doing the public a disservice, and they don’t deserve anyone’s vote. The prudent solution would be to drop 2016 expenditures to $8.4 million (through a hiring freeze, eliminating street paving and a study of other budget items). This would provide some carryover which together with continued attrition may provide additional time to get a tax levy passed.
Tom Brausch Sr.