An education will surely help | IN OUR OPINION
August 27, 2012 · 9:54 AM
It’s back-to-school time, and it’s about time.
No, we’re not talking about the students who will crowd our island classrooms starting Aug. 29.
Instead, we’re talking about members of the Bainbridge Island City Council.
At this week’s council meeting, Interim City Manager Morgan Smith gave city leaders an impressive overview of the city’s revenue portfolio, including a cursory look at tax streams — property taxes, sales taxes, etc. — over the past few years.
Smith also extended an offer to brief council members more fully on individual components of the city’s financial underpinnings, and this council would be well-advised to accept Smith’s overture and learn more about Bainbridge’s financial footing.
Such knowledge will be crucial as the city embarks on its next budget. And to be sure, some on the council are well aware of the difficult financial struggles that the city has endured in its recent history, of the budget cuts and layoffs that were a necessary part of the city’s course correction.
Still, recent comments by some on the council — including this week’s discussion on the formation of a transportation benefit district, and the pressing desire by some to outsource the city’s water utility, despite the budget turmoil such a move would create — shows a greater understanding of how the little pieces fit into the bigger financial picture is needed by some council members.
Wednesday’s overview by Smith was a good start in getting the council educated, or reminded, in some cases, of the revenue side of the picture. That should be followed by an extensive look at the expenditure side — though we hope that any focus on staffing size and salaries will be buttressed by a department-by-department explanation of the essential services that city workers provide.