City Council passed the budget that the City of Williamsport is now living on for 2013 with some not-so-subtle hints of frustration.
The $21.1 million budget includes a one-mill real estate tax increase, three fewer policemen than were budgeted for 2012 and one fewer streets and parks employee.
Council originally approved two fewer streets and parks employees but was able to restore one of the positions in its final meeting of the year with maneuvering of funds from other areas.
That didn't dim the tone of frustration.
More than one council member pointed to Harrisburg and Washington, where state and federal government leaders reside.
According to some council members, policies and mandates and funding cutbacks prompted by restless spending and displaced priorities on those two levels basically neuter the budget power of local governments.
To a large degree, council members are correct. By the time they get done meeting federal and state mandates and dealing with rapidly increasing costs for pensions and health care that they have little control over, there's not much discretionary money and decision making left to be done.
And the result is what residents are living with now - increased taxes and reduced services.
Of course, citizens of Williamsport will take little comfort in the knowledge that council members don't want to inflict budget pain on them. All they know is they are feeling the pain.
The best we can hope for is good-faith efforts by council members and the administration to work together to solve problems in the coming year budgetary and otherwise.
To that end, Mayor Gabriel J. Campana's refusal to sign the budget passed by council for 2013 is not encouraging.
While council made changes in the budget presented by the mayor, particularly in a couple personnel areas, they weren't to the level that cried out for the mayor's rejection of the plan.