The difference between thrifty and just plain cheap? Clinton Mayor Steve Weller thinks he knows.

"It's good leadership," Weller said. "We try to make sure we spend every dollar the way it should be spent."The frugality, if that's what it is, is paying off, according to the Utah Foundation. The private public policy research agency found that of the 46 city budgets it reviewed for fiscal 1993, Clinton had the lowest per-capita spending of $180 per resident.

Weller, who is leaving office in January after 12 years as mayor or councilman, said some may call Clinton's budget methods tight. But if that were true, he said, residents wouldn't receive the services they do.

"Our services are continually improving," said Weller, keeping up with expanding infrastructure needs as the city grows.

Clinton has a $1.43 million budget. The 1990 population was 7,945.

Weller said he was pleased by the report but not particularly surprised because Clinton has responsible department heads who stay within their budgets.

"It filters down," he said.

Other cities with per-capita spending of less than $200 were North Ogden with $196 and Riverton with $198.

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The city with the highest per capita spending was Park City at $2,566.

Michael Christensen, foundation executive director, said Park City's spending is high because services must be provided for large numbers of people who are not permanent residents and so do not pay property or franchise taxes.

Overall, he said, Utah cities show budgeting restraint.

The report found per-capita spending by Utah's largest cities has increased from $261 in 1983 to $354 this year.

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