Editorial: Conservative budgeting paid off for City of NilesPublished 12:25am Thursday, June 23, 2011
Positive budget stories aren’t too common in the local news these days, and it’s not because journalists are jaded — the situation is pretty bleak for many governments. The state has drastically cut back funding to municipalities, many of which are very dependent on the revenue.
The City of Niles did have some good news recently for a few programs it serves.
Previously, the city council had announced proposals to eliminate funding to the Downtown Development Authority, a vital program to the Main Street commercial district; reducing staffing hours at the Fort St. Joseph Museum, which would force some educational offerings to be cut back; and also eliminate funding to the summer parks program, a refuge of skill-building opportunities for area youth.
The news was very difficult for these programs; City Administrator Terry Eull has been very forthcoming about the budget hardships. However, he also pointed out that the proposed cuts are based on a conservatively planned budget for 2012.
The council made good on that point last week when it announced that $100,000 would be maintained for those programs. The city will still be cutting about $400,000, which, unfortunately, will affect the police and fire departments, among other areas.
But in a time when state revenue is depleting and grants aren’t always easy to come by, this news was a godsend for these local programs. Their staffs do recognize that this announcement is for one year only; the revenue outlook is not promising in Michigan’s near future, Eull has reiterated several times.
Niles’ budget outlook may not be exactly rosy, but we’ll take any good news we can get in a time when good news isn’t in ample supply.