What Have You Cut Lately?
Ferndale Patch columnist Emell Derra Adolphus asks what has become a necessity and what is expendable in your own budget.
Every year, for a few weeks, we learn just enough about the city budget to decide who to blame for its deficit. Some put the blame on the flowers or other types of beautification, while others look at the salaries of city workers or even the stipend given to City Council.
It tends to be economically smart to change spending habits with the changes of the economy, both in our own pockets and in city government. And it's not uncommon these days to hear the words "cuts" and "cutbacks."
We all want to feel safe in our homes and be able to take our dogs for walks around a neighborhood with parks, stores, schools, libraries and community centers—you know, the things that make up a neighborhood— but in a money pinch, nothing is off the table.
The city was able to pass a millage May 3, by just 198 votes, to help with the shortfall in the general fund and to avoid drastic cuts to police and fire protection. Maybe that's the equivalent to getting a second, or a third, job.
However, in every budget, there are things that fall under necessity and things that are expendable. For some, food is a necessity and cigarettes are expendable; for others, it's vice versa. But as we become more comfortable with our expendables, maybe too many things are becoming necessities.
My necessity is a pumpkin spice iced cappuccino from Tim Hortons. Then there is the cappuccino before work, the cappuccino after work and the late-night treat for my hard day's work – yep, cappuccino. Within a week, I am out about $80 with nothing to show for it but a sudden weight gain and bloodshot eyes.
So, I went to one of Ferndale's No. 1 guys for budget advice: Robert Babut, FernCare's treasurer.
"It's a good thing, probably, to take a look at everything you spend money on," Babut said. "If you go to Starbucks every day, smoking or going out to eat every night—those are the cuts you should make because they are easy cuts."
That might be a no-brainer.
The recent millage increase was, as many stated, a payment for our city's services. The recent millage was also, as others put it, the government taking more money out of our wallets.
While no one likes to pay more when it comes to the cost of anything, it is the price we have to pay.
So, tell me … what are necessities in your budget? What is expendable?