So, let’s cut the budget

There are a few things expressed by Minot residents that one would be challenged to avoid hearing in coffee klatches, in diners and anywhere local folks gather. Among these are the assertions that taxes are too high and that the City of Minot could reduce the burden on taxpayers by cutting spending, tightening its belt and being fiscally conservative. The latter is reasonable, based on the countless stories of wasteful spending on the part of the federal government – and of many state governments (to North Dakota’s credit, it is generally not one of those states).

But that doesn’t make it true at the local level.

Minot Daily News abhors wasteful spending, as well as spending on pie-in-the-sky initiatives and on attempts at government over-reach. Yet, there are no obvious signs of these things in the city budget.

However, since so many people express the belief that the city budget is bloated and that anyone with a red pen could easily trim the waste, Minot Daily News is issuing a challenge.

The City of Minot’s working draft budget – just the city’s portion of your tax bill, not including parks and schools – has been released and is available. So, the Editorial Board would like to hear about your proposed budget cuts.

Minot Daily News invites you to take the budget in hand, review and decide what specific expenditures, programs, services or departments should have their budgets cut. What employees should be let go?

Obviously a huge portion of the budget is set in stone – things like debt service, pension payments and contractual obligations. Maybe there is waste there, but those aren’t things easy to address, and the supposition of many who have commented is that cutting the budget is “easy.”

So, let’s see it. Send us a letter proposing specific cuts you believe should be made and that would positively affect the city’s bottom line. We will publish your proposals and, subsequently, invite city leaders to respond to those specific proposals.

One of the other complaints expressed frequently in town is that the city acts independent of the public will, or even acts in secrecy. Well, there is a budget you can access and Minot Daily News is awaiting your proposals.

Let’s permit taxpayers to have their say.