Over the last week, Baldwin leaders have been pouring over a mountain of financial data and listening to consultants about the town’s serious financial problems.
There’s a lot of numbers in those documents and a variety of financial tools for evaluation. It’s all good data.
But what it all comes down to is this — Baldwin has been spending more money than it takes in for several years. The town’s general fund is empty of reserves and is floating on borrowed money. The town’s water fund is shaky and may face additional financial problems in the coming months.
Drastic action is needed by city leaders to fix this mess before the town’s finances collapse completely.
Every city department needs to be cut, but the main source of Baldwin’s financial problems is its police department, which alone consumes over 40 percent of the town’s revenues.
This problem isn’t unusual. Too many small towns have created police departments that soon balloon into a financial black hole.
Baldwin leaders are looking at cutbacks and at raising taxes to offset the deficit.
But taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay more in taxes just because the town’s leadership has been financially irresponsible over the last several years.
Overspending, not a lack of revenues, got Baldwin into its barrel of red ink.
Dramatically cutting runaway expenses is what needs to happen now in Baldwin. The question is, does the Baldwin City Council have the courage to do that?