My topic this week is the city’s budget shenanigans.
Just around the time the city decided to open up negotiations with the union, the city commissioners convened into executive session regarding collective bargaining strategies. Did the strategy work? You can be the judge of whether the city succeeded in accomplishing its goal.
The city presented a few possibilities for balancing the budget including heavy employee cuts, increase in the income tax, cutting services, and contracting services out. All the doom and gloom was presented in a neat little package making it look worse then it really was going to be with the budget.
The strategy was pretty intimidating until two weeks later, a magic wand was waved over the budget and miraculously we had a balanced budget without doing too much damage at all. What really amazes me was that the city had enough money left over to throw in a 1.5 raise for all the employees for the next three years.
Why is it that when there is a levy or contract to be passed the schools and the government entities like to manipulate the moment in order to get their levies or contracts passed? Just threaten the taxpayer with cuts and the taxpayer or union feels the need to succumb. Was there a need to bring undue mental anguish to city employees with cuts when in fact, the city only cut a couple of positions and the budget was balanced? Was the moment manipulated to serve the purpose? It is up to the taxpayer to decipher whether or not the art of manipulation was real or just a bullying tactic.
As for whether or not the commissioners needed the finance committee’s approval or disapproval of the budget, the committee is only an advisory committee. It is made up of volunteers of reputable businessmen, accountants, insurance broker, and an investment broker who take time out of their busy schedules to give of their talents and expertise. The city should be thankful they have them and not disregard their vast amount of knowledge so quickly.
Until next week, let’s hope that the budget stays balanced throughout the whole year. The commissioners need to stay focused on their goals and not veer off course with items that are not on the agenda.