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2023 budget: Special meeting Monday to approve it


Last updated 12/6/2022 at 6:44pm

You might recall that last year's budget meetings were marked by rancor among councilmembers.

Completion of this year's $122.5 million budget was rife with political maneuvering. Council President Susan Paine legally continued the regularly scheduled Nov. 16 meeting to Nov. 17, instead of pushing it to Tuesday, Nov. 23, the next regularly scheduled meeting.

That's when new Councilmember Will Chen – who defeated both appointed incumbent Luke Distelhorst and challenger Janelle Cass – would have had a say in the proceedings.

Councilmembers Distelhorst, Laura Johnson, and Adrienne Fraley-Monillas joined Paine in approving the delayed date.

Councilmember Vivian Olson voted against it.

"I reject this budget!" she wrote in an email to The Beacon.

Two other councilmembers – Diane Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson – were absent for the vote.

Because of those absences, the majority of their 2022 proposals were not voted on. Both councilmembers, presumably, would have been in attendance Nov. 23.

Then there was Finance Director Dave Turley, who had pushed for a completed budget almost a month before 2021's, approved in mid-December.

"I've worked in government finance for a long time, and I've said there's no reason why a (municipal) government shouldn't be able to pass their budget before Thanksgiving," he said.

"It's a better way to do it. You don't want to put it off until Dec. 10th, or 15th, or the 20th. You can do it. But it's not good business. You're not showing people that you're efficient at what you do."

The budget was not approved before Thanksgiving this year. And because Nov. 29 was the fifth Tuesday of the month, councilmembers did not meet.

But there is a special meeting Monday, Dec. 5, when the budget is expected to be approved. It starts at 5 p.m. and is budgeted for four hours.

The council will also meet Tuesday for its regularly scheduled meeting – and the budget is not on the agenda.

Tuesday's meeting starts at 6 p.m. It's budgeted for an hour.


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