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City in good financial shape

At the onset of fiscal year 2008, as the economy began to show signs of trouble, the city of Greenville did what any sensible entity should. It tightened its belt and spent less than it brought in.

It sounds simple, but failure to practice this most basic principle has recently led to the collapse of some of the nation’s biggest businesses.

There are problems in government, too, where fiscal responsibility may appear scarce at federal and state levels. But our local municipality, at least, appears to grasp the concept.

And the audit and financial statements released at Monday’s council meeting reflect such.

While city revenues showed only minor variance from the previous fiscal year [marked by a nominal dip in sales tax revenues], expenditures decreased by $2.5 million.

The city also continued to work down its long-term debt, incurring no new bonds during the 2008 year.

Greenville’s ability to provide and maintain services for its citizens essentially relies on two things: sales tax revenues and sound money management.

City government has shown it is committed to both.

Working jointly with the Greenville Industrial Development Board and the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, the city council has taken an aggressive approach to encourage industrial and commercial growth.

The evidence, city leaders say, is found in steady revenues and signs of retail and commercial development, even as many other parts of the country experience difficult economic letdown.

The city has also taken a conservative approach to the budget process and spending in general.

The strategy aims to carry the good audit results over to next year, despite projections that economic climate will be even more challenging.

The mayor and council believe that 2009 revenue and expenditures will meet overall budget goals, according to the audit.