Hoping for handout while on spending spree
Newsmaker of the month: Counting on federal funding
Marsha Beach, city fiscal affairs officer, did not mince words when addressing Dunkirk Common Council on July 7. Financially, she painted a bleak picture.
There is a severe cash flow problem, she said, and the city could end up having to borrow money to make ends meet.
Think about that. A $24 million city budget that may be facing a $1 million deficit for the year.
Of course, the city of Dunkirk is not alone. All municipalities are facing a cash crunch that could likely get worse when planning for the next year.
It did not matter. After the warning, council went ahead with a plan to make the employee who was in the management confidential paralegal position part of the union while increasing the pay by $7,500 per year.
So much for the economic downturn, which has put unemployment numbers at record levels.
For the record, this newspaper criticized that same pay raise for Rebecca Wurster, the excellent city development director, as well. It gives an appearance that elected officials are out of touch with reality.
Also under the microscope is Chautauqua County, which has a budget that totals more than $260 million per year. For the last four budgets, spending has increased thanks to greedy lawmakers wanting residents to pay a higher sales tax to boost revenues.
Now, not only are property taxes still unbearable, we all pay more each time we go out to eat or purchase a big-ticket item. Sure, you can make the case that it’s a couple dollars here and there, but every little bit adds up.
Now, calls are being made by local governments and schools seeking federal relief from the revenue crisis. Somehow, we are supposed to feel better that Washington will pour money into New York state to help pay some bills.
What we all seem to forget is the federal deficit is a runaway train. COVID-19 hasn’t slowed the engine.
Through stimulus funding, and added unemployment assistance, our country has gone from $1 trillion in the red to $3 trillion in only nine months.
These public institutions probably do need some sort of bailout. But, then again, why reward those who are not trying to rein in spending?
Wall Street seems to be on a roll. America, on the other hand, is facing real challenges.