Wondering What Happened at the Citizens’ Budget Committee Meetings?
Five meetings, fifteen hours. I watched ’em all. Yeah, I know, I need to get a life. But I do it all for you, dear friends, so you won’t have to. Recent history has proven that we’re got to carefully watch our representatives in action.
So in short, they approved the City Manger’s Proposed Budget, with one amendment. The text of the amendment is “a motion to recommend that Council look at ways over the next two year period to raise revenue and/or reduce costs by $1M in the general fund as a first step in reducing the city’s long term structural budget deficit.”
Only Aikens, Moran, and DuQuenne voted no on the amendment. Then when voting to approve the budget as amended, only Aikens, Moran, DuQuenne, Morris and Amery voted no. That was the best they could do after 15 hours of meetings, at least half of that time being spent watching Powerpoints. That was the best they could do, although the finance director made it clear repeatedly that the budget would be facing a $2.5M shortfall by the end of the biennium.
Perhaps Jensen, Bachman, and Kaplan were correct when they questioned the effectiveness of the CBC. They certainly did their best to make it ineffective.
Based upon the members statements, the no votes were all in response to the committee not insisting on more meaningful cuts and direction to council, and especially to object to the inclusion of including “raising revenue” in the resolution.
One amusing moment was when all were signing off. Councilor Seffinger stated to the viewers “see, we’re really listening to you.”
The last order of business was to approve the property tax rate. The levy will remain the same at $4.2865/$1k assessed valuation.
Dean Silver, Ashland
Don’t forget the utility fees that are increasing: