In Jefferson County, Prudence Pays Off

Preparing a budget for the upcoming year was a “smooth” process, Jefferson County Commissioner David Maple commented after he and other commissioners completed the work last week.

Indeed, the $14 million budget did go together without the need for a lot of painful cuts. In part, that is because the county will be receiving about $700,000 in revenue from legalized casino gambling, partially offsetting cuts in state assistance.

A modest surplus at the end of the 2012 budget year helped, too.

But it needs to be noted that comparatively calm fiscal waters now are primarily because of how commissioners, county department heads and employees negotiated very stormy seas during the past several years.

Fresh in the minds of many in county government are painful cutbacks that had to be made to keep budgets in balance for several years. We suspect all involved are aware it would not take much for the county to suffer similarly in the future.

Celebration probably would be premature. Still, county residents should bear in mind the current sigh of relief was possible only because of prudent decisions made during the past several years.