The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


March 14, 2014

No simple task in creating budget

Sometimes moving forward hurts.

With the Clinton City Council’s approval Thursday of the budget, some families in the area are hurting with the loss of jobs, hours and an amenity. It could have been worse, but in the end, city officials made a decision and stuck with it, despite a few pleas to reconsider.

Clinton needed to do something. The city hasn’t been in the best financial health recently and representatives never said it would be easy. They have to make difficult decisions. That’s why voters elected them in November.

And Clinton isn’t the only city forced to make cuts. Fulton, Ill., representatives will discuss three options for making up a deficit at a meeting Monday. Camanche enacted a franchise fee, then retracted one and are now using reserve funds to submit a budget to the state of Iowa.

Those are just the area towns feeling the pinch. Cities all across Iowa, like Des Moines, Burlington, Sioux City and many more, have all had discussions about budget cuts.

This is a complicated process and it’s not simple, no matter how much some people want to make it.

The process of making budget cuts seemed a little too straightforward in two separate incidents during Tuesday’s Clinton City Council meeting.

During the audience comment, former councilwoman Bev Hermann decried the budget cuts, asking city leaders to reconsider their decisions. To pound home her point, she used a pizza as an example, saying the savings by residents through a property tax reduction resulted in less than the price of one pizza.

I get it. The example gives citizens a tangent element on how to understand taxes.

But it’s not that simple.

The city budget is projected to have approximately $47 million in expenditures. That’s a lot of pizzas. More than 3.6 million pizzas to be exact.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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