Concerning the Budget, Some Council Members Want to Get Back to "Basics"

The city council's meeting this morning to discuss their suggested amendments to Mary Suhm's proposed FY 2008-'09 budget, a more or less complete list of which is available here. Among the items most often cited on the council members' wish lists: keeping the zoo open during the one day out of the week the city manager suggests locking the doors; paying for street repairs; funding city pools and offering sanitation workers livable wages and decent raises. But we didn't see council member Angela Hunt's budget suggestions in the city docs, so good thing she forwarded them to Unfair Park; they're right here. After the jump, the rationale behind her suggestions, for those interested in the city's bottom line. A sneak peek: "I wanted to focus on the basics." Though, of course, there is always this option, which is looking more and more like a reality here and elsewhere. --Robert Wilonsky

I wanted to focus on the basics. We get lobbied hard by small groups, but while those issues may be important, they don't reflect the fundamental concerns I hear repeatedly from my constituents. I also didn't want to propose any increases in spending without also proposing budget cuts, so I went through the budget very carefully to find possible areas to cut.

City Manager Mary Suhm did a good job providing us with a lean, balanced budget, but I did find some other areas that are not critical, where I think we can make additional cuts. I looked at some of the less critical programs that were proposed to be increasing significantly. Rather than increase them significantly, I have proposed that we take what we spent on these programs last year and add 3% to that for inflation.

I then took into consideration the very basic concerns I hear regularly from residents: code, street (repair, problems with street cuts -- which often cause potholes), etc. and proposed increases in those items.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky