County’s work on budget shows good faith

While it would have been preferable for Ward County to bring the originally projected $27 million tax levy for 2018 closer to the $22 million levied for 2017 in its ongoing budget hearings, the current proposal is not a bad one.

After reducing the proposed levy to just under $25 million this week, the Ward County Commission collectively felt that there could be no more impactful cuts without serious effect on services.

Like most government bodies, Ward County is struggling in the aftermath of the regional economic slowdown and today’s new financial reality. Cuts to the budget had to be made or else tax increases would prompt strong opposition.

Congratulations are due Ward County for the process by which it made cuts. By assigning departments to individually find ways to save money in a most recent round of cuts, the commission let those most prepared to cut back make the actual recommendations.

The results are a wide variety of cuts, everything from previously proposed salary increases and pay grade changes, to a share-the-cost plan for commissioner healthcare, to deciding not to fill open positions, eliminating two new positions and numerous other smaller items.

The budget isn’t as lean as some in Ward County might prefer it, but the county has done a decent job working under adverse conditions.

In today’s financial environment, that might be the best for which to hope.