Budget wrangling: More though, less politics

| Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, 9:14 p.m.

It is an annual ritual in many municipalities — politicking over budgets. Ford City just happened to be the latest on Monday night.

Mayor Marc Mantini had vetoed the ordinance that raises real estate taxes 9 percent to fund the 2013 budget. Council then voted 4-2 in a failed attempt to overturn the veto and keep things going. After the vote, no serious discussion ensued on what to do next.

Mantini, who was out of town Monday, had told council in a letter that he vetoed the tax ordinance because he didn't want to further burden already financially beleaguered property owners. In the course of the council's vote, councilmen Jerry Miklos and Gene Banks both said more spending cuts could be found.

As for those hurting taxpayers, what are they left to think?

Not much, since councils — again, Ford City being the latest but not the only one — don't really openly debate their budgets.

If there are cuts, why didn't council members list them? Are there areas in which combining efforts with neighboring towns might provide efficiencies?

It was 14 days into the new year, and Councilman Miklos told the public there was no need for the tax increase if there's “sound fiscal management.”

We look forward to Mayor Mantini and council members Miklos and Banks offering for discussion a specific list of ways they will reduce expenses in 2013 and maybe provide a funding surplus by year's end.

If taxpayers are aggrieved, they might show up and demand it.

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