June 7th Council to Vote on Budget & Tax Increase

The City’s financial situation does not look good. Just last week, Moody’s lowered the City’s bond rating citing the City’s increasing debt, and still the City does not seem to have the ability to tighten its belt and stop planning big projects that it can’t afford.

On June 7 the City Council will vote on one resolution and, for the third and final time, on two ordinances that set the budget and determine if and how much property taxes go up.

The budget currently includes $41.9 million in City money for the RDC over the next 5 years; roughly $16.5 million of which they will receive in the next 13 months.

Most of the $16.5 million that the RDC is scheduled to get next year goes to build a steamboat landing at the foot of Beale Street. Is that boat landing a good idea or a bad idea? We don’t know. Is it needed? Does the design work? Is this the best place for boats to land? Why not on Mud Island? These seem like questions that need to be answered before the Council approves the funding.

In the budget is also $300,000 of City funding for the RDC's Riverfront Project. That money -your money - will go to plan and design the commercial development of the Riverbluff and the dam across the harbor. The eventual public capital cost of the project is estimated by the RDC at $340-million. That was not a typo. Yes, they are planning the most expensive project in our City's history right now when we are cutting services, programs, and employees. Now this might be the perfect place to trim the budget.

Whatever you think about the budget - want it cut, would like to postpone funding the boat landing until we have the facts, or think there are better ways for your money to be spent - let the City Council know. Here is the link to their web page.

If you click on a Councilperson’s picture, you will get their bio and mailing address.

There’s a mini-course on how the Budget works and more detailed information about money for the RDC in the article “Budget 101” below.

The City Council meeting on June 7 is open to the public. It will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, first floor, City Hall, 125 N. Main.

To get more information and to voice your concerns, attend a public forum on the budget sponsored by Councilwoman Carol Chumney Saturday (6/4/05) from 9:30 a.m. - noon at the main library (3030 Poplar). During budget committee hearings, Councilwoman Chumney made a motion to have the money for the RDC removed from the budget. Her motion could not get a second.