Tightest budget year ever?

A News Journal article – this one is on City Council funding the arts and culture – opens with

In one of the tightest budget years on record for Pensacola’s city government, at least three nonprofits today will ask the city for a total of $775,000 to help fund cultural arts, a festival and a statue.

I question whether this is truly the tightest budget year on record. It wasn’t so tight that the city council couldn’t give 5% “step” pay increases to all its employees. The salary and benefits for one asst. city manager could pay for the DeLuna statue. Reduce the city attorney’s department to one attorney and a secretary and the city could fund all the requests made to bolster the city’s arts and culture – the very component that separates Pensacola from Destin or Orange Beach.

The budget is tight because the city council made it so.