No tax hike? See, it can be done

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Spoiler alert.

The city of Post Falls will conduct a public hearing Sept. 4 on its proposed budget for the next fiscal year, but if you promise not to tell anybody, we’ll let you in on a secret: They’re going to raise property taxes 0 percent.

That prediction is based on keen journalistic intuition — and a news story published Thursday that said as much. We just couldn’t resist the chance to make a guess that’s almost guaranteed to be right.

Even if those massive hints hadn’t been dropped, a zero percent tax increase would have been a pretty good bet anyway. Under previous Mayor Clay Larkin and now Mayor Ron Jacobson, the Post Falls City Council has embraced that big, beautiful 0 nine of the past 10 years. The outlier came two years ago when the city braced for a potentially expensive lawsuit over streetlights. Otherwise, Post Falls residents have been able to consistently plan on city leadership to exercise admirable fiscal restraint.

Much credit goes to those leaders, the elected officials who actually do what they said they would do back when they were candidates, and the municipal department heads who answer to them. Mayor Jacobson and Co., take a bow.

With Post Falls, the superior teamwork and can-do-it-well-with-less attitude is pervasive. Here’s just one example.

When a four-year grant that had been renewed six times was not renewed for two crime victim advocate positions, Post Falls Police Chief Pat Knight didn’t flinch. Clearly in need of additional police officers, Knight said it was more important to the community to fund the advocate positions that would have been lost otherwise. Knight was satisfied not enlarging his slice of the pie if it meant a greater good would come from that decision.

Frankly, the temptation to take as much as one can get is difficult for most of us to resist. And when you’re talking about somebody else’s money — like taxpayers’ — a tax hike of up to 3 percent every year can begin to feel like an entitlement. Not in the River City. Not today, and not for most of the last decade.

New growth is generating some additional dollars so the city is able to offer pay raises and a cost of living adjustment to employees, but even there restraint is evidenced.

We applaud this form of good governance and the individuals in Post Falls who make it happen.

Let’s hope others will follow their lead.

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