Why is the 2022 budget being rushed? | Guest View
Last updated 10/22/2021 at 8:59am
Do citizens realize that the budgeting process is being aggressively rushed this year? Why is this budget being rushed, and why is this scheduling not typical or appropriate?
For decades, the administration’s timeline has extended into December to allow citizens adequate time to comment, allow councilmembers adequate time to review with citizens, and lastly to allow thoughtful review of the budgetary implications in matters relating to our city’s coffers.
Remember, the budget is council’s responsibility, while the mayor is responsible for spending taxpayer’s money.
The proposed budget will be presented Nov. 1.
Also at the Nov. 1 council meeting, three public hearings are scheduled on the proposed budget,
the Capital Improvement Plan/Capital Facilities Plan (CIP/CFP), and property tax ordinances.
Each of these very important budgetary documents impacting citizens’ taxes and how our money is being spent. And they are all are being handled at one meeting to accommodate the rushed schedule!
How can citizens provide useful feedback with limited time to hear the presentation and review the supporting documents?
Council is holding a second budget deliberation meeting on Thursday, Nov, 4 – surprisingly during election week – when citizens will learn who is in the lead for City Council Position 2 held by Luke Distelhorst.
Citizens may not be aware that appointed Councilmember Distelhorst will not be finishing out the year, as he lost in the primary. Appointed councilmembers who lose the subsequent election are replaced by the winner when the election is certified, as opposed to elected councilmembers that are replaced the following year.
The election will likely be certified after Thanksgiving. The administration has scheduled Nov.16 for council deliberations and adoption of the 2022 budget.
Some councilmembers even asked to have “drop dead dates” for amendments to meet this aggressive budgetary schedule. Considering the public already voted out the appointed councilmember, it would be respectful to voters and beneficial that the newly elected councilmember provides his/her comments, opinions, amendments and vote on the budget.
So, please write to council and demand extending the budget schedule, to allow the newly seated member to provide input and participate in the budgetary process.
With virtual meetings, numerous transparency issues, communication issues, and just plain listening to what citizens are saying regarding their participation, it remains important to slow this process down to allow all citizens to participate and understand the administration’s financial presentations, which should provide reasons for all the 100-plus decision packets that are part of the budget.
So, please, tune in, turn up and stay connected to understanding how imperative it is for financial transparency and understanding.
And let councilmembers know what you think!