It's fair to commend Delta City Council members for their struggle to form a reasonable budget for 2014.
Removing built-in buffers for individual departments is likely a good idea.
Surely buffers are considered by department heads as a part of what is going to be spent during the year anyway. Eliminating those dollars may remove temptation.
Overall 10% reduction of estimated expenditures in 2014 from 2013 is prudent. Reducing discretionary transfers from utility funds by $809,000 is admirable too, and earns quiet applause but not yet a standing ovation.
Delta's financial nemesis, The Social Club Where They Play Golf, aka Devil's Thumb, is taking a cut in annual funds transferred to their slush fund. Good news. For too many years their raid on city coffers has helped support a golfing lifetstyle for the few. There is justice in this trend; we can only hope it will continue.
Special kudos to council member Bill Raley for pointing out the obvious connection between increased city utility rates and spending $355,000 to cover a few green fees at The Golf Club. (Let's keep in mind that $355,000 would do much to repair dilapidated roads in our little city.) Simply raising utility rates because "It's just a necessary evil of doing business" as suggested by another council member is not the sort of cavalier approach called for. An impromptu suggestion that the devil is lost somewhere in the details is distracting and not helpful. Still, it seems we can gain some assurance that our city council members and city manager are moving parts of the budget in the right direction.
Continued no-nonsense approach to reducing and reprioritizing city expenditures is what we need and can justly expect from city hall. In fact, it can be reasonably argued that budgeting is the primary responsibility of Delta City Council members. Let's commend them for their efforts thus far.
Still, the elephant in the room that requires focus is the truck bypass.