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EDITORIAL: City budget is fiscally appropriate

Residents who live in New Richmond know that the cost of living in the city is higher than for those living in a surrounding township. It's the price you pay for the public services and conveniences that are associated with city life.

Even with the expectation that city taxes will almost always be higher, local elected officials aren't satisfied with the status quo.

Over the past couple years, under the guidance of Mayor Fred Horne, the New Richmond City Council has charted a course toward greater governmental efficiency and lower taxes. With a lot of hard work by city employees and a sharp budget pencil among city council members, the community has become leaner in terms of its operational costs.

With the newly adopted 2013 city budget, the community took another step toward closing the tax gap between city dwellers and rural homeowners. The overall city tax levy will drop by about 2 percent as a result of the annual budget and city property owners will all likely see a drop in their tax bills next year.

To accomplish their goal of cutting taxes, city employees and elected officials continue to study staffing levels and job descriptions to get the most governmental bang for the taxpayer's buck.

Essential services have been maintained through it all, and frank discussions about new ways of accomplishing goals have been encouraged.

While cutting budgets has been a focus of the city the past few years, the community is still looking to the future. Through strategic planning and a prioritization of capital projects, the council and city employees have mapped out a reasonable plan to get things accomplished over the coming years.

Over the next few years, the council vows to continue its efforts to lower taxes so that living in the city is cost competitive when compared to area towns and villages. Elected officials and city employees will also be spending more time on economic development in an effort to expand the city's tax base and thus lower the tax burden on individual property owners.

When compared to many communities across Wisconsin, New Richmond is a true leader in its tireless efforts to keep a lid on the price of government and local taxpayers should appreciate the path elected officials have chosen to follow.