Wednesday, August 31, 2011
The Sunnyside City Council faces some tough choices over the next several months.
The budget is in need of a big fix before 2013, if not sooner, to correct problems, namely spending the water and sewer rates collected from local residents on quite a bit of stuff other than water and sewer infrastructure.
Then there's more than $700,000 in new spending mandates council has approved without first finding a way to pay for it beyond the immediate future. When state lawmakers do that, cities like to cry "unfunded mandates." When our own city does it I guess all we can do is cry.
There are talks of budget cuts and the likelihood some amount of utility tax increase will be needed. That's in addition to ideas for new fees.
The concern is that since these won't be implemented until next year sometime, it's going to be awfully tempting for Sunnyside City Council candidates to stay mum on the subject until after the November general election.
Since we have two candidates vying for each of the three Sunnyside City Council seats up for election, I think it would be a good idea for a group to host a forum. It would be an opportunity for each candidate to be asked their views on increasing taxes and fees.
At the same time, the forum could ask each of the six candidates where they would cut to help balance Sunnyside's budget.
Without a candidate forum for Sunnyside City Council, we'll go into next year without knowing whether we selected the candidates best suited to handle Sunnyside's fiscal woes.
For this column, anyway, the "F" is for forum.