Budget cut, then boosted to avoid cuts that hurt

    Burned by state officials in the past, Decatur Mayor John Schultz on Tuesday night proposed raising the city's budget for 2014 as much as allowed by state officials. Then, when cuts are almost inevitably made by those state officials, the city won't take such a tough hit.
    After they went over the many numbers in the proposed budget for an hour and six minutes on Tuesday night, council and the mayor wound up with a figure of $5,674,000 — a decrease of roughly $23,000 from the current budget.
    But past experience — and this goes back to the Isch Administration — has shown that when the city trims its budget as much as possible, the state Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) still winds up cutting it further. So a community is, in effect, penalized for getting its budget as low as its officials believe possible.    
    The mayor pointed out that DLGF will allow a city to increase its budget only 2.6 percent from the previous year. So he recommended, and council heartily agreed, adding approximately $190,000 to the budget — putting it 2.6 percent over the current budget — and putting those monies in the Common Council fund in the proposed budget.
    Further details in today's print and e-editions.