Council Considers Cutting

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While the final decision on the FY 2003 budget rests with the Meridian City Council, it asked the administration Monday to recommend cuts that could reduce its over $26 million size.

Tuesday Mayor Smith said let's talk about it.

"I'll also ask council if you will call a work session where staff and I will be allowed to participate at your earliest convenience," said Smith. "We're preparing a list of choices for the additional $600,000 in reductions in the general fund budget to go with $200,000 in general fund reductions for a total of $800,000."

As for the eight percent increase in water rates, councilman Dr. George Thomas argued they were not discriminatory.

"People who use less than 2,000 gallons there is no increase," said Thomas. "Increase of the cost of water does not apply just to poor people, it applies to all people."

He also spoke out about the budget reduction.

"A lot of people have talked about the city council cutting the budget," said Thomas. "There was no cut in the budget. There was no budget. The city council passed a budget. That budget includes approximately one and one half million dollar increase. I wish we didn't have to do that but it's there. In my opinion we did a pretty fair job with it."

Technically he's right, but by reducing the millage rate the council will have to find ways to reduce earlier proposed budgets for various city departments. That work session has now been set for 9 a.m. Thursday.