IT IS not difficult to understand why Lafayette is such a well-run city when one looks at the high caliber of candidates for the City Council.

Incumbents Don Tatzin and Brandt Andersson are both running for re-election and they are being challenged by two good candidates: Traci Reilly and Dino Riggio.

As we have noted in many editorials, cities around the state have been repeatedly blasted by the state's perennial budget crisis as well as the flagging economy.

When push comes to shove -- and there is plenty of both these days -- it is usually cities which come out on the short end of the funding stick. That is why prudent management of money is essential in local governance.

We believe that Tatzin and Andersson have been good stewards of the public trust and deserve to be re-elected. They are both thoughtful, energetic members of an effective council. Their city holds a AAA bond rating, which is excellent in these trying times.

Their city has avoided the perils of pension problems experienced by other cities and jurisdictions because Lafayette does not have a defined-benefits pension program, which means the city has no unfunded pension liability.

That is testament to the city's financial prudence.

Andersson rightly points to Lafayette's beautiful new library and the preservation of Acalanes Ridge as exceptional accomplishments of the current council.

All four candidates realize that Lafayette is going to need to find a way to increase revenues in the coming years, which may include going to the voters with a tax proposal.

We were impressed with the challengers, especially Reilly. But neither of them articulated a strong enough reason for the community's voters to unseat two strong-performing members of the council.

We recommend that voters elect Don Tatzin and Brandt Andersson.

For a recap of our editorial endorsements, go to www.contracostatimes.com/endorsements.