An approach to trimming a budget

A cursory review of the proposed City of Minot 2018 proposed annual budget reveals a spending plan that is already conservative and responsible.

It is, however, “proposed” and both the city council and public have opportunities to weigh in on it, which could quite possibly alter the final budget (in fact, it is likely.)

The result might be that the city is forced to find additional cuts that can be made in the budget.

The city administration has already done well in addressing those budget issues that, realistically, can be addressed in the grand financial plan for next year.

A Minot Daily News reader offered a suggestion for how to make additional minor cuts, employing a tactic that has been utilized many other places, as well as by the State of North Dakota.

If there is trimming yet to be made, perhaps it should be left to department heads. Depending on the desired amount to strip from the budget, each department head could be assigned a percentage to cut. To take a random number, say 3 percent. In this scenario, each department head would have to reduce their department’s budget by that amount, however it would need to be accomplished.

Make no mistake here, while that might not sound like a lot of money, or like a huge challenge, to the layman, it is not an easy thing to do for those who could actually be so tasked. We’re talking significant numbers here and even a small percentage of those numbers is substantial.

City department heads are in the best position to know where they can make relatively “minor” cuts without leaving the department unable to function.

Hopefully, a tight, responsible budget with the support of the council and of the public will set Minot on a fiscally responsible course, tacking away from the reckless adventurism of past councils and administrations.

However, in case there is some razor-sharp cutting that will yet need to be made, perhaps the onus should be on individual department heads.