It’s been reported that the City of Austin faces a budget deficit. I bet we’ve all got some notions about where savings can be found. My own first cut would be the police helicopter, especially with the rise in fuel costs. Nights when this clattering monstrosity is not in the air are the only nights that offer a chance of unbroken sleep. In the budget, this function is called “air support.” Last night, we were buzzed and the noise was so close that the rattling window panes and the rest of the noise, light, and vibration awakened us from a sound sleep; then, no sooner had we returned to slumber than the occurrence repeated itself. I’d like to see more money spent on the libraries and the parks (including extending the wading-pool season) or, if this money stays with the police department, then on foot, bicycle, and automobile patrols where people live, not concentrated on downtown entertainment districts or on IH-35. I think that beneficial savings would result from abolishing every title and function similar to “public information officer.” I believe we’d all know more about what’s really going on. The communications performance measures have a degree of entertainment, if no other, value. Solid Waste Services would save money in the long run and provide better sanitary services by returning to better trash carts, sturdier ones that keep their wheels, axles, and covers, and with non-warping and close-fitting covers that do not provide access to houseflies. I wonder what services other amateur budgeteers would prefer to see eliminated, cut, augmented, or initiated. Those who don’t wish to comment here should consider communicating their budget priorities to the city council.

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