Department shows courage in making cuts

Other government entities should take note of this stewardship

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It takes great courage to be part of the government during times of economic upheaval.

The pressure to continue, expand or create new services -- is overwhelming. Every program has a constituency that screams loudly if anyone even looks at the possibility of cutting funding.

The problem is the money isn't there, and the public is in no mood to supply any more.

Something has to give. The "we've always done it this way" approach won't work.

Walla Walla's Parks and Recreation Department faced up to those difficult realities and eliminated several programs, including the Saturday open gym; Punt, Pass & Kick, youth basketball Hot Spot and adult three-on-three basketball.

Money wasn't the driving force in this decision, Director Jim Dumont said. The number of participants had dropped too low. The benefit no longer outweighed the time, effort and expense.

Still, it takes intestinal fortitude to eliminate programs -- not trim them back and keep them on life support to avoid the tantrums of a handful.

Now Dumont and the department can explore other programs that may produce greater rewards for more people. Taxpayers should take some comfort in knowing that if these ventures don't pan out, the department has already shown it won't allow them to be a drain on resources.

Other government entities should take note of this stewardship.

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