Tough times are calling for tough decisions

Posted: Friday, March 20, 2009

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dave Carey announced last week that every nondepartmental organization within the borough will start this budget year at zero based.

The nondepartmental category of the borough's budget is made up of nonprofit organizations, including the Kenai Watershed Forum, Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, Central Area Rural Transit System and Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council, to name a few.

In the past, the borough has given funding to these organizations. We feel Mayor Carey is taking the right step to start the budgeting process at zero based for these nonprofits. With the suspension of the sales tax on all nonprepared food items within the borough, which took effect Jan. 1, no one knows how much tax revenue the borough will lose.

In today's uncertain economic pressures and climate, the mayor is acting very prudently with taxpayer dollars.

Mayor Carey has said that beginning at zero does not mean these nonprofits will not receive any funding, he just wants all the facts and information of how much money will be available before he commits large amounts of taxpayer dollars to these nonprofits.

We agree.

Mayor Carey is giving the nonprofits the opportunity to make presentations on behalf of their groups, and we think that is fair and justifiable.

"This country is in a much more difficult situation than it was five months ago. I have a responsibility that this borough weathers this economic storm," Carey told us.

And that means making sure we are running the borough as efficiently as possible in every department.

Although we are slower to feel the economic pinch like the rest of the Lower 48, it is finding its way into our area -- and the worst is yet to come. However, like every household on the Kenai Peninsula, the better we plan ahead, the better off we will be.

The borough is no exception.

Mayor Carey's foresight is to be commended, but we hope he takes this philosophy even further, by looking at every department in the borough as he makes his way through next year's budget planning.

We know it won't be easy -- change seldom is. But when it comes to spending our money, it's hard to argue with practicality.

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