FYI: The Independent Budget Office put out its third annual “Budget Options” report last week, in which it presents the pros and cons of a range of ideas for reining in the city’s costs and boosting its income. The wildly popular report–IBO says it’s one of the agency’s most frequently requested and cited documents–was more extensive than ever this year, with nearly 70 entries. Some are small-ticket items, like the $6 million the IBO anticipates from charging a buck for now-free video rentals from city libraries, or the $5 million we’d get for imposing a $250-a-day permit fee on film companies that shoot here (we now give away about 20,000 production days a year for free). Bigger money would come through structural changes, like the $33.8 million we’d save on homeless shelters by boosting funds to help people stay in their homes in the first place. And, of course, there are the downright controversial ideas, like reducing the education payroll by adding two kids to each K-8 class ($195 million in savings), “managed competition” between public and private trash and recycling collectors ($63 million), and charging households for waste removal based on how much they toss out ($263 million). Choices, indeed. [2/17/04]