Imagine that you are in the same fix as many people in this city. You have a family to feed, house and clothe and you have either lost your job, or your income has been dramatically reduced. What would you do?
For most of us, the answer is clear. We would look at where we are spending money and determine what expenses could be eliminated and what expenses must continue to be paid. The first things to go would likely be the fun stuff: movies, eating out, vacations and the like. If things got really tough, you might have to move into a less expensive living space.
As you looked down your list, you would see some things that just couldn’t be cut. If you had a child that needed regular medication, you wouldn’t cut that. You wouldn’t cut back on nutritious food for your kids. It would be very hard, but you would try to find every possible way you could reduce your expenses and still keep your family healthy and whole by determining what is a “must have” and what is a “would like to have.”
Since we all know that this approach is both logical and fair, it comes as a surprise that the city doesn’t take the same approach when it finds itself in a financial bind. Try identifying one thing this city has done to actually reduce its costs while at the same time still delivering the level of services its citizens require. Has it learned how to do the same with less?
What is the city’s approach to these troubled economic times? It is deliberating whether or not it should cut its social services budget by $2 million. I doubt very much that cut would make much difference to its bottom line, but it would sure hurt a lot of very vulnerable people. While you are pondering that, there are a number of things that are worth remembering. This is the same city that bought $18,000 worth of bicycles for employees to use. This is the same city that ponied up $1 million in support of the Indy. This is the same city that has let its work force grow by more than 22 per cent in the last four years. This is also the city that says it cares about its citizens.