Thursday, August 21, 2008

City budgeting. Like a maze, but darker.

I just sat through the parks committee meeting in which they discussed this year's budget, including the half-million dollar cut to the arts budget. They talked a bit about how they needed to trim $3 million dollars from their budget, and the arts cut was a part of the total cuts.

One question: did anyone else notice that they only trimmed around $780k from the city budget, over two thirds of which was the arts cut? The rest of the reductions weren't funding cuts, but expenses shifted to other line items in the city budget. They "cut" around $1.5 million by moving park ranger expenses from parks to public safety, but it's still city money they're spending. They did the same with a few other line items, reallocating parks funding for things like roads to other city departments. Without cutting actual city spending, they managed to make it look like they shaved 2.2 mil from their budget. Just about the only substantial cut they made: arts funding. And, it looks like the parks department can't even do anything about it; it's a "pass-through", from the mayor, and everyone seemed to be under the impression that it's already a done deal....

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