COLUMBIA – News of the city's potential budget cuts reported Sept. 2 in the Missourian was representative of a fundamental economic frustration.
At a time when more people need increased financial assistance from charities and other outlets, people naturally have less money available to donate to those groups.
The city has also had to make some difficult choices regarding social services. A quick look at the Missourian report explains the details.
Last year, the city set aside just over $900,000 for social service groups. The city wants to save $2 million in the next year, so trims must be made in the budget. A 5% cut in social service funding, the most drastic of the three proposals mentioned in the article, would mean a loss of approximately $45,000 for social services.
Steve Hollis, Columbia's Office of Community Services manager, explained in the article that most cities do not use general funds to take care of social services.
But the city's budget shows the general fund will suffer significant cuts. It's important to consider social services is not the only area where cuts would be made. In fact, the city's 2010 budget includes cuts in multiple city departments.
At an Aug. 17 City Council meeting, some residents expressed dismay that social services were being cut, noting that in recent years they have usually increased or at least stayed consistent. The city's Budget-In-Brief explains that revenues from the Enterprise Fund, which will see a spending increase in 2010, cannot be transferred into other areas.
Are there better ways for Columbia to save money in 2010 than to cut social services funding, or is a cut simply a byproduct of a bad economy that every department must expect?