Read the Bills Act Coalition

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wilder's plan to resolve budget dilemma with City Council

Wilder's plan to resolve budget dilemma with City Council From Times Dispatch's Will Jones:Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder announced today a proposal to settle his administration's budget dispute with the City Council and to pay city retirees a 1 percent cost-of-living increase...."After productive discussions between staff, both sides agreed to provide a COLA for city retirees and a balanced budget," Wilder said in a statement. "Both sides made measured adjustments to the budget and considered each other's requests to reach this agreement, and we are satisfied that it will resolve the budget issue for [fiscal] 2009."...Richmond has been operating under Wilder's proposed budget since July 1 after the mayor declared the budget adopted by the council invalid. Officials have been meeting privately for weeks on an agreement to produce a balanced budget outside of court....The proposal announced today calls for reappropriating $2.2 million in surplus funds from fiscal 2006-07, in part to pay for 1 percent cost-of-living increase for retirees.....The proposal also would bridge a $6 million shortfall that stems from the council's decision to cut the real-estate tax rate from $1.23 to $1.20 per $100 of assessed value. The proposal would reduce fiscal 2008-09 spending by $4.8 million by applying a 1 percent cut to city departments, excluding police, fire and social services. An additional $1.2 million in specific cuts also would be made.....Under the city charter, the council has the option to approve or reject the amendments without changes, with approval requiring at least six votes, according to the city administration. Wilder said, as a precaution, he's instructed his staff to be prepared to make administrative cuts to balance the budget if the proposed amendments are rejected by the council.

Is this a good overall plan to resolve the issues at hand or just a slight of hand trick that moves money around and make the "at hand" issue go away? I do like the reduction in department spending, but is it adequate and can the city be more fiscally responsible?

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