Monday, June 15, 2020

A one week deferral on the budget vote is crucial says Steve Glover. Please call or email your council member.

To watch the video, follow this link

by Rod Williams - In this Sunday morning Facebook post, Councilman Steve Glover says he needs a one-week deferral of the budget vote in order to be able to have his budget proposal presented to the Council as an alternative.  The budget must be approved by June 30th or the mayor's budget becomes the budget by default. The budget is on the agenda for tomorrow night June 16th.  There is no reason for the Council could not defer action for one week.

The reason it is difficult to develop an alternative budget is because all assumptions in savings or changes in revenue have to be verified by the Finance Director.  If an administration is so inclined they can slow-walk their responses and run out the clock.  In this Facebook post Glover says that he is exploring every options that can be explored but at every turn he gets told he cannot do something when he thinks law says we can.  It is time consuming process trying to get information from the Finance department and trying to get them to change an assumption or agree to your assumption. 

Glover does not say this in this Facebook post but another difficulty in developing an alternative budget is that the alternative must be able to get twenty-one votes or it is a wasted effort.  The sunshine law prohibits council members from negotiating legislation except in a public forum.  This makes it difficult to ask a colleague directly, "What would it take for you to support a budget that raises taxes less than the mayors?" There is some wiggle room and some of what is prohibited under the sunshine law is open to interpretation but it is a hindrance to developing an alternative budget and counting votes. 

I am unsure at this point how much Glover's alternative would raise taxes. I don't think he knows because it can not be determined without the input of the Fiance department and to garner support of colleagues he may have to keep adding funding for this or that to hit the magic number of twenty-one votes. Steve's proposal includes raising the wheel tax.  Steve says he is not happy with the amount by which his proposal would raise taxes but it is the best he can do and it is considerably less  than the mayor's 32% hike or Mendes's 34% hike. 

Unfortunately we are going to have a tax increase.  The question is how much.  Glover says a week's deferral could make a huge difference.  He says "it is getting warm in the kitchen."  He urges people to call or write their council member and ask for a one week deferral. 

To find your council member's phone number and email address follow this link. 

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