Tuesday, March 31, 2009

2009 Budget passes 7-4

Last night, at the Special Council meeting, the budget passed 7-4 as proposed by the administration (Craig, Gibbs, Krischer and Tanner voted against it). Immediately prior to the Council meeting, we spent a great deal of time in the Finance Committee meeting reviewing my proposed $504,668 in cuts to various areas of the General Fund. My suggestion was to use this money to supplement the Police Department's Personal Services budget to allow the police to keep more manpower.

These cuts, minus $100K to be restored to Landscape Maintenance, were also proposed by motion at the full Council meeting and were summarily rejected by a majority of Council (7-4). A spreadsheet is in the Documents section that shows these proposed cuts to the General Fund. Many of the line items were for payment of mileage and travel allowances, including the Mayor's personal travel allowance. Unfortunately, the majority of Council was not even willing to eliminate payment of mileage and travel reimbursements to provide more money to the police department.

$404,668 injected into the Police Department's budget would mean that almost half of the personnel let go could be retained (see EPD 2009 Cuts in the Documents section). If there were pay concessions, possibly more could be saved. In the alternative, it would allow more patrolmen to be hired to perform these functions.

We will continue to push for changes to the budget so that we can stay focused on our critical priorities, such as the safety of this city. We certainly should not pay mileage or travel reimbursements if that means we have less money for services provided by our police department.

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