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The Hollister City Council made the right decision this week
when it approved more than $1 million in budget cuts. The city is
dealing with a budget deficit and, without cuts, deficit spending
and bankruptcy become real possibilities.
The Hollister City Council made the right decision this week when it approved more than $1 million in budget cuts. The city is dealing with a budget deficit and, without cuts, deficit spending and bankruptcy become real possibilities.

These cuts will have a far-reaching effect on the local populace, but were needed after the failure of Measure R, a ballot initiative proposing a 1 percent sales tax increase, in November.

And while we feel the sting these service cuts in the coming months, we hope it is not in vain. We also hope the city’s plan to balance the budget will work flawlessly.

But in the case that the proposed cuts fail to put Hollister in the black, we believe the city should be working to establish a backup plan.

In essence, as taxpayers, we expect to get exactly what we aren’t paying for. We expect the cuts approved by the council to solve Hollister’s budget woes.

However, even carefully laid plans face obstacles.

That is why we encourage the city to establish a backup plan to deal with contingencies such as a decrease in sales tax revenue.

The city must identify what is next on the chopping block should the current deficit reduction plan fall short.

In the meantime, Hollister and city staff should also be looking at additional ways to increase revenues that would help offset future cuts.

In addition to creating a backup plan, the city would be wise to take diligent steps to ensure the first round of cuts is implemented properly.

The city must be able to prove to taxpayers that it actually cut the services and the 12 positions outlined in its plan.

It would be a shame, come 2008, to find out that the city cut eight full-time positions when it was supposed to cut 12.

Let’s make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

The city wisely chose to let the ax fall in two phases.

This will allow time for another sales-tax increase to be on the ballot before the second phase of cuts would go into effect.

We can only hope that work on that ballot initiative has already commenced.

The lesson we learned from Measure R is that a tax increase initiative doesn’t stand a chance of gaining voter approval without a carefully planned public awareness campaign.

The failure of Measure R showed a lack of vision on the part of the city that we hope is not repeated.

Without a solid backup plan, the city runs the risk of being forced into deficit spending in the coming years.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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