Balancing Budget In Steubenville

Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison’s suggestion City Council close the Pleasant Heights fire station to save money prompted a few fiery reactions Tuesday night.

But if council rejects Davison’s recommendation, it will have to find money elsewhere in the budget to keep the station open.

Davison told council members it may be necessary to close the station and lay off five firefighters to balance the 2013 fiscal year budget. She added that is “the only way I see being able to balance our budget…”

“I would rather see cuts elsewhere … in order to save money,” reacted Councilman Gerald DiLoreto.

Chris Blackburn, president of Local 229 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, was less diplomatic. “I feel sheer disgust for whoever made this proposal and for any council member who agrees with the proposal,” he commented.

Fine. Opponents of the suggestion are right to point out that public safety is among the top responsibilities of city government.

But so is balancing the budget.

Local and state government officials – unlike the deficit spenders in Washington – find themselves between a rock and a hard place every year at budget time. In Steubenville, that means Davison’s plan cannot be dismissed until a realistic alternative is devised.