Thoughts on the city budget

Jessica Lewis

The City of Norwich has put together a preliminary budget for the 2007 year. A public hearing will be held on Tuesday night to discuss the proposed budget. Although the City Financial Director Bill Roberts said the tax rate increase had dropped from 38 percent to 5.85 percent, there has been some discussion over the programs that had to be cut to make that possible.

Youth Bureau Director Bob Mason explained at a previous meeting many cuts that he’d had to make to his budget, including cuts to the swimming lessons program, youth bowling at plaza lanes, bus trips, and other youth oriented programs. The total savings of these cuts was reported as $7,944. The amount does not seem like a great deal, especially when the next item under discussion was the purchase of a new copy machine, the cost of which would be $12,000.

I am not debating whether or not the city needs a new copy machine. I am sure that if it is in the budget it is necessary, however, I wonder about the need to make so many cuts to the Youth Bureau, which total such a paltry amount. First Ward Alderman A. Anthony Abraham spoke up, discussing this issue. He stood up for the youth programs, saying the young people in the city deserve our support, and I have to agree. The youth bureau’s budget has been cut almost every year since 2002. Even though Mason found a way to save some of the programs without the funding, I feel that the youth in the city deserve all the opportunities we can give them. As a taxpayer, I would much rather see those tax dollars go to support the youth of the community, than be spent on other endeavors.