Balanced budgets: Gatsas and Vargas deserve praiseEDITORIAL
February 16. 2017 11:34PM
Other than large amounts of snow, the sky is not falling in Manchester.
Mayor Ted Gatsas presented his proposed budget to aldermen this week. It is a tight budget, constrained by the tax and spending cap imposed by Manchester voters.
Gatsas would keep spending under the cap, without laying off any city personnel. That is a major accomplishment, considering the bind aldermen placed him in when they approved contracts giving raises to several city unions.
Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas also deserves a pat on the back for putting forward a responsible budget proposal for city schools. He would close the $5 million budget gap by moving the school district’s central office into West High School, and cutting 34 full-time teaching positions, 18 through layoffs.
That’s a minimal cut in teaching staff considering the costs imposed by the new contract with city teachers.
Gov. Walter Peterson used to say that he knew which of his commissioners were unwilling to restrain spending in their departments when they proposed cutting funds for “widows and orphans” rather than making reasonable and politically possible cuts.
Gatsas and Vargas have worked hard to deliver reasonable budgets that will keep the city within the tax cap. Will aldermen finally show some fiscal restraint, or once again bust the cap and increases taxes on Manchester home and business owners?