Ness Works To Balance Duluth's Budget

Hats off to Mayor Don Ness for working to get a grip on Duluth's 5.4 million budget woes. The mayor has come to realize that Duluth cannot continue to operate on a budget that isn't balanced, and has made some pretty significant proposals to fix the budget, almost all involving cuts in city services, including police and fire.

While it's unfortunate that the city must reduce it's services to the people, the people must realize that at the current level of income the city can no longer afford to do what it's done in the past. The income must go up or the expenses must go down. Ness' answer is to do both, although it appears to strongly favor reducing the expenses rather than raising the income. The plan affects all city departments, and at first glance appears to take away a lot of the amenities that a certain portion of residents enjoy (such as free wireless in the Canal Park area, ceasing funding of city-funded adult leagues, lifeguards at Park Point, etc). It does also affect the city as a whole in some aspects (the previously mentioned reductions in the police and fire departments for one).

It will be interesting to see how the council reacts to the proposed budget. Up to now, it seems (to me anyway) that the council and the mayor are doing some finger pointing back and forth, and the council doesn't seem to like to make the tough decisions to deal with the longstanding problems that Ness is addressing.

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