Put the brakes on backseat budgeteering

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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There are a lot of backseat drivers in the Friendly City.

Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick speaks to her decision to vote in favour of a reduction of the DFFH subsidy by $100,000.

Take, for instance, on the snow removal issue: the talk of the town once the white stuff falls is almost inevitably fixed on how poorly the city does at keeping its streets clean, or at least drivable.

To be fair, the complaints aren't unwarranted.

There's no excuse for six-inch ruts and roads that remain untouched (but for the traffic driving over them) for upwards of a week.

In a city the size of Moose Jaw, one might presume, roadways around town might see a spot of sand each snowfall.

But there is little productivity in whining for weeks on end about the deplorable condition of the city's roads without proposing a meaningful alternative more in touch with reality.

And what is the reality?

This city has enjoyed years of low taxes and big-ticket, expensive luxury purchases at the expense of infrastructure and the departments that take care of it.

Denizens of the Friendly City have indicated overwhelmingly they want to see infrastructure as the number one priority.

And then, those same people scream bloody murder when their property taxes are assessed upward and city administration play hardball over contracts to try and get a better deal.

The problem appears to be a lack of willingness to monitor the budget of the city in which one lives.

The Times-Herald has sat through this city's budget discussions. In some cases, it was the only media outlet to do so.

It has paid attention while administrators and councillors painstakingly discussed the finer points of Moose Jaw's finances.

The Times-Herald was the first to report when the city reduced the subsidy to Mosaic Place and YaraCentre by $100,000.

It watched as Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick voiced a desire to "trim the fat" in council's travel and deputy mayor allowances, and as Coun. Dawn Luhning — among others — suggested a review of advisory committee budgets to save taxpayer dollars.

It's easy to hang the faults of years of misdirected policy on the heads of seven council members and the administrators who serve them — including the two who are new — but such behaviour is far from productive.

A better use of the taxpayer's time, rather than screaming into the void about one problem or the next, would be to attend budget discussions, monitor the decisions council is actually making, and suggest viable alternatives.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Organizations: The Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Friendly

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