This is probably what happened: Angela Hunt got a phone call yesterday afternoon from Rudy Bush at The News, who wanted to know why the council person was one of seven to sign a letter telling Jerry Allen and the mayor, that, look, they'll cut their own budgets, thanks very much. Hunt, who has said repeatedly that "we're cutting muscle, we're cutting bone," no doubt wanted to make it very clear that she's not being fiscally irresponsible, so, late last night, she hopped on her Web site to outline her proposal for $457,374 in savings -- a small but decent hunk of the $190 million City Manager Mary Suhm needs to cut before presenting the council her budget late next week.
So, a little past midnight this morning, Hunt delineated eight reductions and eliminations -- among them, "Eliminate fleet fuel and lube (unclear what this is for)." She explains further her reasons for telling Allen to go trim his own budget and leave hers alone:
Each councilmember represents 90,000 residents. We each have two staff members: a secretary and an assistant. Each office gets hundreds of phone calls, emails, and letters requesting assistance with city issues. Our secretaries and assistants help us respond to those requests.
With a goal of reducing our budget by nearly $500,000, Councilmember Allen has proposed cutting half our secretaries. However, with the significant cuts in many city services, the council is going to see an increase in constituent phone calls and service requests, and the proposal to eliminate half the secretaries will, in my opinion, reduce our ability to respond to residents.