Home Opinion Editorials City needs to look for ways to save first
City needs to look for ways to save first
The La Grande City Council recently held a work session to explore ways
to beef up the city budget. But rather than look for ways to save, the
council discussed ways to increase revenues. In these tough economic
times, when many people have lost their jobs and others have had to
endure giving up pay raises, benefits and are taking forced days off
without pay, the city appears to be going at the problem from the wrong
The city has cut a few positions and scaled back hours at the library and pool, all of which were necessary to balance the 2009-10 budget. But other than that, there haven’t been many sacrifices made. Employees — with the exception of City Manager Robert Strope, who refused his — received their cost-of-living adjustments. City employees aren’t taking furlough days. Some of this might be the nature of the contract schedule for bargaining groups, but it would seem that times are such that everyone should be willing to sacrifice a little. Bargaining groups at other public entities have done so. There’s no reason that the city shouldn’t be exploring all cost-saving moves before anyone starts talking about more ways to boost
Ideas kicked around at the council’s work session ranged from a local option levy, which even some on the council acknowledged would have little chance of passing, to implementing systems development charges, annexing more of the urban growth boundary into the city and adding parking meters, to name a few of the ideas.
The city provides important services, among them police, fire and street maintenance. Any cutbacks made will be felt by the public. But long before the city starts looking for ways to increase revenue by further tapping into an already-strapped economy, it would be best to make sure every opportunity for cost savings has been explored.