Putting together a city budget in this economy is all about priorities.

In East Moline, the $10.5 million city budget is smaller this budget year than the one set in 2008. We have shrunk the size of city government.

City employees are giving back. Through furloughs, salary freezes, benefit cuts and picking up the slack because of fewer city workers, every city worker is making concessions. We should thank them rather than look to lay them off.

Property taxes are going up 4.9 percent on the city portion of the tax bill. I wish that didn’t have to happen. To put it in context, this means my family will pay an additional $48.43 this coming year or the equivalent of $4.04 per month.

Select fees are going up. Our garbage fee is going up $1.15 per month, the first increase in eight years. That’s the equivalent of an additional 27 cents every time weekly garbage is collected.

The rest of the fee increases involve specific areas that do not impact our entire citizenry.

On top of this, we have eliminated key positions:

- Director of economic development.

- Assistant director of maintenance services.

- The No. 2 position in the Water and Sewer Department.

- A city planner.

- Six positions in the Maintenance Services Department.

These are difficult and unpleasant decisions that don’t make any of us happy. But I pledge to you these decisions have been made thoughtfully and thoroughly and during the course of 17 open and public budget sessions.

Cheri Bustos

4th Ward Alderman

East Moline