As you know, I was unable to attend the budget hearing but someone called and gave me the details.
It seems that we need 1.5 million for next year's budget. No small amount to be sure. But the council seems ready to make whatever cuts are necessary whether they are popular or not. With elections looming in 2011 they should be commended for doing what is right.
From what I was told, Mr. Coffey wants to eliminate health care coverage for the council members. I agree with him on that issue since the council members are part time employees. To my knowledge no other employer gives this benefit to part time employees.
Mr. Messer mentioned the large cell phone bills and apparently wants to limit their use. Again, I think this is a good move. City officials should use their own cell phones. If they want a separate phone for work they need to purchase another one. Everyone knows that times are not good and these are small sacrifices.
I know if these cuts are made we still have a long way to go to balance the budget but every bit helps. And I don't buy the line that elected officials make less than they would in the private sector. People in middle management are losing their jobs every day. At least elected officials know they have a job for four years.
Additionally I'm always hearing people on the campaign trail talk about why the want this particular office, and it never has anything to do with money. Maybe some of our higher paid city employees and elected officials could give up a few of their perks to help the city.
Yes, the article is harsh but again, these are hard times.