A loyal reader has been hearing all the talk about the city building itself a grandiose city hall at the old post office and — after he picked his jaw up off the floor — he sent this insightful email of wonderment:
“Will someone please explain to me how the city proposes to close a $50 million budget gap that begins October 1, 2009?”
“In four and a half months the city will start spending money at a rate that exceeds revenue by $50 million a year unless expenditures are reduced or revenue is increased above what is already projected,” he continued. “Do you know the easiest way to increase revenues? Raise taxes. And how do we reduce expenditures? Oh, we can close libraries, parks, community centers, swimming pools, postpone street maintenance, and similar unimportant programs.”
Then, to drive home the head-in-the-sand characteristic of this city’s residents, he asked another question:
“Did you read anything about this problem during the recent political season?”
“We obviously are very happy with our city government since we returned them all to office without a whimper,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a newspaper that would write about such problems? Hold on to your hats folk as a storm is coming. It may be difficult for our leaders to talk with us about this since they can’t produce audited financial statements or reconcile bank accounts in a timely fashion.”
The guy has a good point.
So, Mayor Moncrief and City Manager Dale Fisseler, what’s the plan? There must be plenty ways to raise $50 large. A big yard sale? Drill gas wells on school playgrounds? Steal copper out of new homes under construction and sell it to the metal recyclers? Force all city employees to sell one of their kidneys? Go to Vegas roulette table and put a $50 million chip on red nine?