Expense cuts are good policy

Published 10:12 am Tuesday, August 4, 2009

During the past few days, it has been reported that the city of Suffolk is attempting to close gaps in the current year’s budget by cutting expenses. New policies such as reducing the number of cell phones and contracts and eliminating the use of leased property for city operations — instead moving them to city-owned property — have been instituted.

These efforts on the part of city leaders amount to the same type of things each and every one of us have been doing in our own households during this recent economic downturn — a downturn some are starting to say is coming to an end.

We applaud the efforts of our city leaders to look for ways to trim expenses, rather than looking at ways to add more fees or other costs to area residents. It is this effort to become more efficient that will prove even more valuable when the economy begins to move higher.

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But the challenge will not be cut costs or to hold costs level from one year to the next; it will be holding in check the desire to increase spending, once the economy does turn around.

While an investment is needed in city infrastructure and redevelopment projects, city leaders should use this time as a valuable lesson when deciding what items may be deemed luxuries down the road.

Do additional cell phones and cell phone service increase productivity among city workers? Maybe. But, now is not the time for maybe. It is the time for solid, fiscally minded leadership that will make this city much stronger when retail sales increase and city coffers are increasing, as well.