Emilie Rusch over at the Rapid City Journal has a story about how Mayor Hankenstien says no one scrutinizes travel requests more than he does. Huh?
In his "no growth" budget proposal, Hanks actually DECREASED the general fund travel budget, but INCREASED the budget for himself and councilpersons. What's that mean? It means that city employees who could benefit from training and put that training to use to either bring a higher quality to city services, or reduce the costs of those services, will have less money for such training. In the meantime, the mayor and councilpersons will have more money to go off to places like New Orleans, Boston and cushy resorts in Washington State.
In the whole scope of things, the travel budget is peanuts. But in an economy where people in the manufacturing industries have lost their jobs and plants have closed, it flies in the face of good judgment when our council effectively says, hey, we know you're smarting from the economy, increased water rates, increased sewer rates, increased electrical rates, higher property taxes on property that's decreasing in value. We don't care. We want our little junkets and we're going to take them, at your expense.
I have no doubt that some League of Cities seminars would have some value for councilpeople when our coffers are fat. They are pretty slim now. So are sales tax revenues.
So "no growth" budgets are supposed to include no growth. Unfortunately, money is not like statistics. You can move a few dollars from one pocket to another, but at the end of the day, you still have the same number of dollars.