How to save $6,500

August 05, 2005 12:00 am

The Baker City Council will consider tonight whether to put four revisions to the city's charter on a November ballot.

One would raise the pay for councilors. Another would weaken term limits, and two would change the way the city compiles the council ballot.

There are certainly arguments for and against each of these proposals.

November of 2005 won't be the best time to hear them, however.

The city is estimating the cost of the election at $6,500.

The county clerk says that figure may be on the low side.

But if the city were to wait until the May 2006 primary or the November 2006 general election, there would be no cost to the city to ask the same four questions.

So if the council decides to put any of these proposed changes to the voters, they should schedule them for next May or November and save the public some money.

Let's face it: $6,500 is a chunk of change in Baker City, something city government has demonstrated time and again.

This year's budget process found the council working hard to save a thousand here and a thousand there by tinkering with employee compensation and benefits.

Even more recently city officials went back and forth with their public works union over a proposed $5,000 relief fund the council would have preferred not to pay.

No, even if the charter seems less than ideal from time to time, it certainly isn't in the sort of peril so urgent as to warrant an unnecessary $6,500 expense.

No, let's save these charter change ideas — and our money — for one of next year's ballots.