Our Opinion: A city budget tweaked for the better

News Tribune editorial

The Jefferson City Council on Monday may act on a proposed $74 million budget it has tweaked for the better.

Mayor Eric Struemph submitted a solid core budget that included 53 adjusted items.

Among those adjustments, council members added three, eliminated four and altered four. Their changes represent a fractional $2.2 million within the total budget.

Those changes, however, were largely thoughtful and targeted.

For example, one council member questioned projected sales tax revenues, questioning repeated use of a $10 million figure that hasn’t been met since 2010.

Staff’s explanation that the optimistic figure would remain until it was attained proved unsatisfactory to council members, prompting one member to suggest the actual amounts from previous years be substituted.

Council members also correctly reduced the projected savings from city job vacancies. Based on figures from previous years, the proposed $628,024 was decreased to $262,000.

The council also wisely eliminated earmarking $600,000 to begin a savings account for a proposed conference center.

A conference center, once again, has been relegated to concept status, with no plan or site under consideration.

Squirreling away money for a project in limbo creates the public perception that the city is flush with funds — a perception that could be detrimental to future tax campaigns.

Overall, we found the council’s discussion and alteration to the proposed budget to be deliberate, frugal and practical.

Serving in elective office often is a thankless task.

It shouldn’t be. On the budget, the mayor and council members deserve appreciation for their prudent approach.

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