Budget Amendments Up Wednesday
The Monday meeting was to have been held from 7 to 9 p.m. and was more in the nature of budget deliberations. The way the legal notice for Wednesday reads, it will now be a special meeting to introduce amendments to the FY 2008 budget. Formal action may be taken, according to the notice.
If amendments are approved, they must then be published and a public hearing must be held on the amendments before final budget passage.
While there is a need to get the budget passed as soon as possible, the public deserves to know as much as possible about the amendments and their impact on city operations. The time to ask questions is Wednesday, because the notice for the public hearing will only contain a list with no indication of the rationale for each change.
As introduced, the budget reflected an 8.2 percent increase that the council intends to reduce to 3 or 4 percent.
A budget summary is posted on Councilman Rashid Burney’s web site, with prior year amounts for comparison. Click here for the link. This document doesn't tell the whole story, but there are some big increases and reductions that stand out. Thanks to Councilman Burney for providing easy access to this document.
The FY 2008 budget is for the fiscal year that began July 1. In 2005, the council held off budget passage until the new administration took charge in January 2006. Last year, vacancies in the cabinet caused delays in the budget process and final passage took place in early February. This year, budget passage may not occur until late February, again because of vacancies in key fiscal positions.
Considering that it will take months for a new person to learn how to run the Department of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services, the post should be filled as soon as posiible. The department includes all these divisions: Comptroller, Audit and Control, Community Relations and Social Services, Health and Social Services, Municipal Court, Personnel, Purchasing, Tax Collector, Tax Assessor and Senior Center. Currently, City Administrator Marc Dashield is handling the responsibility in addition to his other duties.