It is budget time again the city department heads have been busy formulating their 2008 budget requests, having meetings with city leaders and preparing to make their presentations to the Finance Committee.

The proposed budget has been published for public consumption and it is a voluminous document which will take time for me to review.

With the staggering financial disaster we all have a duty in our community to watch carefully as our elected officials and city employees decide how to allocate our tax dollars.

During my 34 years as Municipal Judge I presented 34 budgets and that experience gives me an insight into city finances.

The numbers to look out for are the line items, not always published, which constitute the small expenses that grow into the final numbers that are published.

Some of these small expenses are office furniture and accessories, expense allowances, replacement equipment, paper, use of utilities, newsletters, medical insurance for employees, and yes even pens and coffee cups with the city logo.

The Journal/Sentinel recently reported that the Mayor is calling for a 4.29% general fund spending increase, and that trying to chop that increase back to 2.8% would mean finding about $520,000 in spending reductions which the Mayor said would reduce the city's high quality services.

The ball is in the Mayor's court to find that money, reduce the budget and maybe, just maybe, recommend a property tax reduction that city residents can live with during these difficult times.

So, let's all do our part to help our city save money.


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