Hold Down Taxes, Fees

Most of the time when towns and cities face budget gaps, municipal officials get together to work something out. Something different is being done in Weirton.

There, it is expected the city will be about $1.8 million short of covering expenses for the year that begins July 1. Something needs to be done soon to keep Weirton government out of the red.

A budget review committee has been established and may present findings to City Council this week.

But Weirton’s committee does not consist solely of city officials. It also includes representatives of the community, including businesses. They are taking active, thoughtful roles in the budget-balancing process.

Many ideas are being discussed. They range from higher fees and taxes to cuts in spending, possibly through privatization of some services.

Indications are that Weirton residents and businesses will not escape the process unscathed. The $1.8 million expected shortfall is a lot of money – probably too much, in the context of a budget that totals $14.6 million, to handle solely through spending cuts.

City Council members should bear in mind, however, that while municipal government has it tough financially, so do many Weirton residents and business owners. Times are tough all over, as they say.

With that in mind, special attention should be given to finding creative ways to reduce spending while not eliminating vital city services. Again, many Weirton residents and business owners have had to find ways to trim spending during recent years. They have every right to expect that the same be done in city government.