Here we go...our city leadership is on a mission. How to make up a 2 million dollar projected revenue deficit in the this year's city budget...and a projected deficit of 3 million dollars in next years budget. This mornings headline in the Daily Disappointment attempts to solve part of the problem this fiscal year by furloughing...sending home without pay...every city employee for 2.5 days...if the unions agree to it. This...according to the news report...will garner a savings of $150,000.00. This doesn't even scratch the surface of the 2 million shortfall. In her infinite wisdom the Mayor even suggests we cut back on concrete repairs (streets?) and sewer maintenance...areas that are already underfunded.
What caught my eye in the story was that this years 2 million dollar shortfall is partly attributable to a 1 million dollar loss in city sales tax revenue because of the bad economy and unemployment (and it wasn't that long ago the Chamber of Commerce and Nebraska's economic gurus were touting Nebraska was almost bulletproof in the sagging economy.) My question is...if we are a million short in sales tax revenue...what created the other million dollar shortfall? Could it be overspending by our glorious Mayor...her predecessors and our wonderful city council? I and many GI-ites would likely respond with a resounding YES! I guess when you are in a legacy building mode it's "Damn the dollars...man the tax increases...and full speed ahead."
With around 5 million to make up over the next year-and-a-half...the only alternative is to raise property taxes in Grand Island and increase fees...bend over folks it's coming. Budget cuts are out of the question in GI although I believe we would be better off by selling or giving away the Shooting Park...cutting back on the exorbitant parks budget...cutting travel and large ticket items. It's time to cut frivolous spending practices like we have seen over the past several years and get back to the basics of maintaining the basic infrastructure and the protection of life and property. We look like Omaha and that ain't good.