Set Aside Funds For a ‘Rainy Day’

Steubenville City Manager Tim Boland has suggested City Council set up a “rainy day” fund in the municipal budget. That is an excellent idea.

Boland, who has been on the job for just a few weeks, discussed the city’s 2014 budget with council on Tuesday. Among his key recommendations was setting aside 10 percent of general fund revenue “for unforeseen emergencies or financial difficulties.”

Not so long ago, that would have been laughable. Steubenville officials were forced to worry more about paying day-to-day bills than setting up a reserve fund.

But finances have improved somewhat, and that may make it possible to put aside a few dollars – perhaps not the full 10 percent sought by Boland – as a reserve.

Safeguards would be needed, of course. Dipping into the rainy day fund for some types of spending would deplete it quickly, defeating the whole idea.

Council members should discuss the details of setting up a reserve fund, then proceed with it as a means of guarding against short-term financial challenges.