Lawrence taxpayers owe a “thank you” to Lawrence city commissioners and staff members who listened to their concerns and reduced the city’s mill-levy increase from 2.8 mills to a more moderate 1.88 mills.
Late Tuesday afternoon, City Manager David Corliss came up with proposed budget cuts that were approved by city commissioners at their meeting Tuesday night. Key among those cuts were decisions to delay the purchase of a $750,000 hazardous materials vehicle for the fire department and to cut $200,000 from the city’s parks and recreation budget. These are not pleasant cuts but they are a prudent move for this year, during which taxpayers already have agreed to a 1.7-mill levy increase to fund an addition to the Lawrence Public Library.
Corliss warned that the cuts might prevent the city from undertaking new projects such as a new recreation center in northwest Lawrence and acquisition of the Santa Fe Depot in east Lawrence. Those are desirable projects but not an essential part of providing city services.
Mayor Aron Cromwell expressed optimism that funding still would be found for the depot and other projects. We also hope that is the case — if not this year, then soon. For this year, however, city officials deserve credit for recognizing that the current economy calls for austerity in both public and private spending.