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Editorial: Little wiggle room for budgets

Nobles-Rock Community Health Services offers an example of the type of challenge local and county governments often face nowadays.

At Tuesday morning's Nobles County Commissioners meeting -- during which commissioners from both Rock and Nobles counties met over interactive television -- NRCHS Director Brad Meyer presented a total budget that represented an increase from his agency's current budget cycle ... and also created a budget deficit. Meyer said the $54,908 deficit would be balanced with funds from reserves.

Meyer noted that NRCHS plans to pursue grant money that, if received, would enable the agency to hire an additional public health nurse. If the grant isn't received, however, staffing almost certainly would remain the same, and, as Meyer told commissioners, "There's really nowhere else to cut."

Commissioners lauded both Meyer and Rock-Nobles Community Corrections Director Jon Ramlo for their work in managing their respective agencies. Yet, those agencies' struggles seem typical of others across the state -- and now, local governments will be bound by state levy limits. Through no fault of their own, tighter budgets will only get tighter.