City Council committee denies mayor’s initial budget
With the City budget due in fewer than six weeks, the City Council Finance Committee decided Tuesday it didn’t approve what it’s seen so far from Mayor Alvin Brown.
The City ordinance code requires the mayor to provide a tentative operating and capital budget, revenues, expenses, contingencies and reserves and a proposed millage rate for the year by May 1.
Meeting that deadline, Brown offered a one-page budget showing a $58 million gap and an unchanged millage rate.
Council Vice President Bill Bishop, a committee member, said Tuesday he wanted specifics from City Chief Financial Officer Ronnie Belton about how the $58 million gap would be closed.
“I’m not an accountant but I do understand basic budgeting and budgets by definition balance. This one doesn’t balance. I know you did exactly what was done last year and shame on us for not catching it,” Bishop said.
“I know it’s all preliminary at this point but we want to know – I want to know – what you’re thinking,” Bishop said.
Belton said the administration will meet this week with department heads to review their proposed 10-15 percent cuts. He said those cuts, along with others, will help balance the budget.
Not satisfied with Belton’s answers, Bishop asked to defer the resolution supporting the preliminary budget. It was deferred by a voice vote.
Also, the Finance Committee decided in a 3-2 vote that the administration should file the budget by the traditional date of July 15, which is a Sunday this year. The administration had requested a one-day extension to July 16.
“The calendar is the calendar,” said Council member John Crescimbeni said.
Because the resolution did not gain the necessary four votes, it remains in committee.
In other news from the Finance and the Recreation, Community Development, Public Health and Safety committee meetings Tuesday:
• Discussion of proposed sexual-orientation anti-discrimination legislation in the Recreation Committee drew a large crowd of opponents and proponents. Committee Chairman Bill Gulliford allowed public comment. Many speaker cards were filed but only a few individuals spoke because of time constraints. Former Council President Ginger Soud spoke against the bill while former Council President Matt Carlucci and Haskell Company President and CEO Steve Halverson voiced support of it. The measure was deferred and Gulliford said the comment session would resume.
• The Finance Committee approved a $4.9 million Recapture Enhanced Value grant for the proposed 220 Riverside mixed-use residential development by Hallmark Partners. The original bill was substituted.