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|For Council, Expediency Trumps Consensus
|The Galesburg City Council, after spending several hours last Wednesday going through the operating budget, decided not to pursue that option consensus after all.
Monday night's regularly scheduled City Council meeting saw "no" votes from aldermen on items that were thought to have been previously agreed to.
Second Ward Alderman Wayne Dennis, after being the deciding vote in approval of a two percent increase in the gas use tax at Wednesday's budget work session, for some reason, decided to change his vote last night.
Dennis then proceeded to request cuts elsewhere to save a fire inspector position which would otherwise be on the chopping block.
"Is there any way for the, you made up the statement that we could make some other cuts to bring back the fire inspector," says Dennis. "We bring him back, make other cuts, no personnel cuts, but find the fifty-two or fifty-three thousand dollars."
His comments come after previously saying he didn't know where additional cuts would come from on Wednesday. Dennis wasn't alone however.
When the motion to suspend the rules at last night's meeting to move the gas use tax into it's final reading came up for a vote, Fourth Ward Alderman Corine Anderson voted against the motion that she agreed to on Wednesday.
The 3-5 vote effectively prevented an increase in the gas tax from taking place until the council decided to reconsider the ordinance for quality assurance purposes.
Seventh Ward Alderman Jeremy Karlin expressed his frustration with the process.
"If we say we're against reconsidering it and against advancing this to final reading then we're like saying 'okay we're going to vote on it tomorrow.' says Karlin. "So why don't we get to the heart of the matter which is: are we thumbs up or are we thumbs down on this gas tax so we can pass a budget and so we can move onto the next thing."
Anderson voted for the ordinance on the second go round which failed the second try as well. She then proceeded to discuss the need for a balanced approach to the budget.
"I think that in hard times we need to be thinking about how we can maintain the community, continue to improve infrastructure which has been deferred for a long time and I guess I'm just having a problem with the idea that the only way to proceed is to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut," says Anderson.
The Council, after unanimously voting down the 2013 budget option agreed to Wednesday night, approved a second option 7-1 which: eliminates several city positions and cuts 20-thousand dollars from street improvements.
Several aldermen and audience members were in agreement that the City's current budget approval process needs reform.
First Ward Alderman Ken Goad said you can't fund items if you don't have the money.
"Every year since I've had any inkling of being interested in the council, if I'm not mistaken, there has always been what's called a shortfall in the budget," says Goad. "I guess I'd look at it different, if you put things in the budget you don't have money for, it's not a shortfall, it's pie in the sky."
Goad went on to say he has never once supported cutting positions from the fire or police department, but seemed to forget his vote in favor of cutting the fire position - which was agreed to be cut at Wednesday's budget work session until the two percent gas use tax increase was proposed.
The budget option approved last night allows for just over 180-thousand dollars in contingency funds.
|12 18 12 by Newsroom
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