Some city employees, particularly those losing jobs, won't be pleased with the budget Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis submitted to the City Council this week. But the spending plan does what taxpayers seem to demand - keep the city going without a tax increase.
It can be done, but there is a price to pay. More than 20 jobs, most of them in the police and fire departments will be eliminated. Some services will be cut, and remaining city workers won't get any pay raises. Some 1,200 mid-block street lights will be turned off on major thoroughfares.The problem has been that city finances have seen some shrinkage in recent years, mostly due to a less than robust economy. The city depends heavily on sales tax revenues.
The $80 million general fund proposal by DePaulis is actually 1.5 percent less than last year's budget. If police, fire, and street department employees seem to be taking the brunt of the budget squeeze, that's only because those are the biggest city operations.
While the proposed spending plan does not raise any property taxes or user fees, it still manages to keep most programs going and even make substantial contributions to capital improvements.
That is no small feat, particularly since the city budget has been tight for several years. All the more obvious places to save money had long since been taken advantage of.
The mayor and city officials deserve appreciation for coming up with a budget that gets the job done with as little money as possible.