Making hard choices
I am reading with interest in the newspaper concerning the bloated budget that the city of McCook has run up this year. It proves one thing to me, hard decisions are not being made.
When I was an employee working for the state of Maryland during its budget problems, the state made everyone including its employees make sacrifices in order to balance its budget.
City Manager Nate Schneider likes to play the roll of a rich uncle who showers the city with gifts, and the city council runs the city as if it were a country club. Hard decisions are not being made leaving the taxpayers having to pay more out of their pockets so the city can continue to get fat.
The city can do the following to get their budget back on track to being balanced.
1. Delay all pay raises for all McCook city employees.
2. Furlough all non essential employees one day every pay period. Every department can stagger this like they do when planning the employees vacation time. This allows the department to continue to operate. Non essential employees are those who don't come to work during a federal holiday.
During my walks around town, I often pass by our city services building and notice that two areas in the budget can be cut.
1. Eliminate the need to have bottled water from Culligan. The city says our water is safe to drink. If its good enough for city taxpayers, it's good enough for city employees. City employees can always bring in water from home.
2. Eliminate contracting out for window cleaning. The city maintenance department is capable of doing the same job at a considerable amount less then contractors can provide.
If I thought that the city government was making hard choices concerning the budget and city employees were also making sacrifices too, then I would not mind paying a little more in taxes.
The items above were sacrifices I made as a state employee in Maryland. I am sure these same sacrifices can be made on a local level too.
It's time for City Manager Nate Schneider and the McCook City Council to make some hard choices. The taxpayers should not be always left holding the bag when it comes to being asked to sacrifice while the city government sacrifices nothing.