When Steubenville City Council members meet in special session today to discuss ways to hold down municipal spending, they should give favorable consideration to several ideas offered by officials of city employee unions.
For the past few weeks, council members have discussed how to close a gap of more than $800,000 in Steubenville's budget. Layoffs of 11 employees may be necessary.
But this week, representatives of the three city worker unions suggested concrete alternatives that could preserve at least a few of those jobs - along with important services provided by the employees.
Brian Young, president of Local 2015 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, suggested spending cuts that could save about $138,000 a year. They include eliminating vehicle allowances for council members and city department heads and not providing cell phone and Internet allowances for council members. Young also suggested some new fees be charged city residents and businesses.
In all, Young told council members, spending cuts and new fees could offset about $582,219 of the budget gap.
Charging residents and businesses more will not appeal to some members of council - and indeed, holding down the cost of living and doing business should be a priority.
But some of the spending cuts recommended by Young and other union representatives are another thing entirely. They appear to be thoughtful suggestions for keeping the budget balanced. Again, council members should give the ideas serious consideration during their meeting today.