Tonight the Burlington City Council will take up the Mayor’s re-revised budget; the first for our new mayor. According to this story in the Burlington Free Press…
The Burlington City Council will come face to face tonight with Mayor Bob Kiss’ $45.16 million General Fund budget.
Caught between voter angst over the increasing cost of government and warnings from city officials that a 6.3 percent tax increase is vital, the council will meet in a work session before its 7 p.m. meeting to decide how to vote on the budget, or whether to delay a vote.
The budget for fiscal year 2007 takes effect July 1.
The funny thing about that vital tax increase is that a couple of weeks ago, Kiss said that a 9.4% tax increase was vital. The council said, “No way, Jose!”
Then last week, Kiss came back with a 8.4 percent tax hike, again vital unless we cut services, but again councilors stood firm in their demand that he lower the burden being placed on the citizens of Burlington.
Now, he’s back with a lower figure and no cuts.
That raises the question: Is Kiss a liar or just in over his head?
He was able to take a budget that he said could not be lowered without cutting services and lowered it without cutting services.
Was he being less than truthful about the first budget, or did he just not know what he was doing? Then there is always the possibility that he just doesn’t understand the need to keep the increase as low as possible and to him, it was a necessary increase.
I guess I should cut the guy some slack seeing how he has only been in office for like two months, but this has set a bad precedent for his future budgets. Now the council knows that his first budget is likely an inflated number, or at the very least can be lowered.
I am pleasantly surprised that the council stood up to the mayor like this. That’s impressive for a part-time council that has been largely ineffective in the past.
Speaking of the Council standing up to the Mayor, also on the agenda tonight is a resolution opposing the sanctuary city idea floated by Mayor Kiss.
In other business, the council will consider a resolution against making Burlington a sanctuary city sponsored by Republican councilors Kurt Wright, Ward 4, and Paul Decelles, Ward 7; and Joan Shannon, D-Ward 5. Early in May, Mayor Bob Kiss told participants of an immigrant rights parade that the city should begin a discussion about whether to make Burlington a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants.
Tonight’s resolution would put the council on record as not wanting to begin the sanctuary-city discussion while the city is trying to resolve serious financial problems. It would also direct the city attorney to stop researching the question.
It will be interesting to see how the vote on this bi-partisan resolution comes out.
Also check out the blog “The Burlingtonian” for a story about a tax payers’ protest being organized for tonight’s council meeting. (A post about the sanctuary city issue follows.)