Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mesa Council approves next year's budget

Following the major budget cuts of the last year and the major reorganization effort, the Mesa City Council passed their tentative budget for next year. It is being called an "upper spending limit" which is good, especially since, although the economy appears to at least leveled out, we never know what could happen.

The new budget banks on about $50 million from stimulus money, which will hopefully fill the gap until Mesa's sales tax numbers start to recover. However, we should realize that Mesa can't count on stimulus dollars forever, even if the current program gets extended.

Also included in this plan is increased user fees, including fees tacked onto utilities and increased costs for plots at Mesa Cemetary. Unfortunately, once fees are raised, they are rarely reduced. When the economy does finally recover, that may be something for Mesa to consider to keep its fiscal fitness in place.

When times are bad, government budgets go on a diet and opt for the more essential sustaining items. As times get better, the spending naturally returns to previous levels as "wants" replace "needs." If Mesa remembers the sacrifices that people are making now (ie increased impact fees, pay cuts, etc) perhaps restoring these items will be a top priority instead of binging on other spending projects.