The Lima News
It’s been a while since both the city of Lima and Allen County saw its budgets pass so quickly and with such little fanfare. In past years one of the two government bodies (and sometimes both) found itself embroiled either in arguments about payroll increases or about cutting the services it provides.
The fact that each entity made difficult decisions back then is why the city and county are each on stable financial footing today. Council members and commissioners cannot lose sight of that. They need to keep their eyes on the purse strings, making sure money is spent wisely in the future.
Commissioners Greg Sneary, Corey Noonan and Jay Begg seem aware of this. They passed a $24.8 million budget on Feb. 13 that included no additional money for pay increases. The commissioners had hoped to fund departments enough money to allow them to hand out pay increases this year. Some employees have not received a pay raise in four or five years. However, the numbers didn’t work. “We looked into it hard,” Begg said. “The revenue is very similar to last year’s revenue. We weren’t able to find any additional cuts.”
The city passed a $27.7 million budget on Monday, taking advantage of some one-time increases in revenue. That included the sale of the former Lima Locomotive Works and higher than expected income tax revenue. It also kept expenses to $1.3 million less than budgeted.
Wisely, the city has set aside $2.7 million to address some capital issues. There are plenty to choose from here. Let’s hope they choose wisely, using the money to pay for long overdue nuts and bolts projects such as building and road repairs.
Both city and county officials should pat themselves on the back today for besting last year’s budget. We certainly congratulate them. However, now that the bank accounts appear in order, we urge officials to remember the importance of being good stewards of taxpayer money.