With the city of San Antonio facing declines in revenue due to both faltering home valuations and lower sales tax collection city manager Sheryl Sculley is making key decisions to bring her budget into balance.
Currently the city is anticipating an $11 million deficit, and that number is set to top $67 million the following year. In order to avoid the fate of countless U.S. cities and states San Antonio is tightening the belt, by creating a prudent budget.
The city is trimming the budget by focusing on key services and squeezing out inefficiencies, cutting staffing by 5 percent and freezing wages for all municipal workers.
Though San Antonio is not out of the woods this is a step in the right direction. By avoiding additions to current tax collection rates the city is keeping stress off of already stressed taxpayers and by not dipping into the city’s reserve fund they are keeping the city’s AA bond rating ensuring better lending rates for future projects.
Government expansion is almost never cited as the culprit when cities are in dire straits; instead we blame a faltering economy or city emergency. What is truly prudent is prudent in good times and bad and cities ought to be in the business of always acting prudently with taxpayer dollars.
City management deserves kudos here but to avoid the maneuvering required in this instance San Antonio and much of our nation would do well to change budgeting and spending policies acting consistently in both the best of revenue situations and the worst.