The council’s balanced budget: Hoping things get better

Downtown yesterday, the DMN reports that the council passed a city budget that finally balanced by laying off up to 900 city employees, reducing park maintenance and library hours and making less money available for pothole repairs, all without raising taxes (but raising some fees that we’ll all pay, which are not taxes according to downtown math).

Efforts to delay issuance of several hundred million in city bonds for a year in an effort to keep the same problem (not enough money to run the city) from happening again next year at budget time were felled by the same argument that derails most things Mayor Tom Leppert’s disagrees with downtown — doing so would be a step in the wrong direction, counterproductive to the city’s growth, anti-democratic and completey un-American.

I exaggerate slightly, but not much: Leppert successfully beat back an amendment to save $24 million in debt service by delaying the bond issuance, even though no one knows (and the city manager and mayor said as much) where the $24 million to pay the debt service will come from, but gosh darn it, we need to spend it anyway because theses things will work out. Just like they did with this year’s $190 million budget deficit, perhaps.

Four council members voted to increase taxes by a penny instead of cutting to balance the budget, but their effort was rejected. Here’s betting that next year, the council will be raising taxes because it’s a step in the right direction, productive for the city’s growth, democratic and completely all-American.



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