Sunday, May 9, 2010
Clarice (R) and Isabelle doing what they do best.
Job 1 for the aldermen and the city manager over the next month and 1/2 is the city budget. I just received it yesterday and it's too early to give you my impressions of it. I do know that we're facing the largest year-to-year drop in projected income in many years. This means we have less money than we did a year ago, and 2 new massive liabilities are staring us in the face that were not present with the last budget: payback for a NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant ($562,000 this year's payment) and the loan for construction of the fire station ($241,000 a year for 20 years). The budget submitted by Alan Thornton, our City manager, does not call for a city property tax increase. It will take me a bit of time (and many questions) to see how he has managed that bit of magic.
During the rest of May and June the aldermen will be having budget workshops. I'll post the dates and times on my website (www.ken4alderman.com) when they become available. I urge all citizens to attend these workshops if you have the time because it will give you a good sense about how tough budget decisions are made. More importantly, you'll be able to see how your money will be spent over the next year. The budget (and thus the tax rate) is probably our biggest job as aldermen because we all must live with the results of our deliberations. It will also be enlightening to those who feel that the city isn't doing enough in a particular area. With as many cuts as we are facing this year the key will be establishing priorities.
If you have any thoughts about our city's budgetary issues, or areas in which you feel we should be spending more money, please let me know via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave it here as a comment.
ONE LAST ITEM: If you'd like to know how I feel about the situation at the April board meeting involving my attempt to remove a planning board member because of excessive absences please e-mail me and I'll be happy to pass along my thoughts.
Ciao for now and hope to see you at tonights meeting. - Ken