Two recent political cartoons draw attention to what the artist labels "The New Normal." They are a nice gesture; humor can take the edge off a harsh truth.
One drawing depicts a line of automobiles leading to a gas station advertising regular unleaded for $3.15 per gallon. In the caption, one driver asks a passenger, "Remember when 3 dollars was considered a high price for gas?" Another panel shows a new bicycle before a family Christmas tree, as the mother explains to her husband that the bike isn't for their son, it's for him to ride to work.
But there's nothing humorous about the proposed 2012 budget for the city of Tiffin. On the other hand, there's no bad news, either.
Mayor Jim Boroff has submitted a $10.04 million budget. That $40,000 is too important to omit by rounding; after all, the new figure would be less than the $10.1 million budget for this year.
But the plan doesn't call for layoffs of city employees or major reductions in city services. It also doesn't include pay increases.
The new normal in this budget would be the continued use of so-called "sewer splits."
Boroff's proposal includes paying a third of wages and benefits for the mayor, city administrator, finance director, payroll manager, payable technician, engineering employees, public works supervisor, sidewalk and special projects administrator and the law director with sewer revenues. This year's budget used sewer revenue to offset 30 percent of those wages and benefits.
Previously, when sewer splits were used to help balance the budget, opponents of the idea were quite vocal. Now, council members seem resigned to the idea.
As if it's the new normal.