Posted by Charity on June 12th, 2006

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.

What gives?

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.)

17 Responses to “In City Council News…”

  1. There’s no question that he’s in over his head. If he doesn’t explain his previous misstatements about not being able to submit a lower increase without cutting services, then he’s also dishonest.

  2. Hey anonymous-

    Nobody cares what you think.

  3. Oh touche, you witty thing you!

    Kudos to the councilors who have enough cajones to try to put a stop to the “sanctuary city” nonsense.

  4. The best way not to talk about something is not to talk about it. A resolution stating you don’t want to start a discussion about something, creates a discussion about the thing you supposedly don’t want to discuss. Duh. It doesn’t take “cojones” to be that stupid.

  5. Try reading it again. “It would also direct the city attorney to stop researching the question.”

    You know, not wasting money when the city is having financial problems – what a concept.

  6. Charity, this is a great post. As you know, I’ve almost gone pro in the sport of mayor bashing. It’s nothing personal. I don’t wish him any ill will as an individual – but I do believe that he is in way over his head. He seems to be missing the point and failing the greater constituency at every turn. I know he’s only been in office for a short while – but in that time he’s managed to bite off more than he can chew. More than several normal mayors could chew, actually.

    I don’t think that the mayor has been lying about the 9.4%, 8.4%, etc. increase. I don’t believe it because that would mean that he is actually a really dishonest and manipulative leader. And I don’t believe that he is either of those things. Which leaves us with the other alternative – he just doesn’t have a clue. This must be the case, because if he did have a clue, he’d understand that the absolute last thing the city needs now is a tax increase (or second to last – last would be converting to a sanctuary city).

  7. McNeil finished his research on the issue last month. The resolution is stupid.

  8. Actually, Bob Kiss is spending tax payer dollars having Joe McNeil research an idea which the city council may not endorse. It makes perfect sense for the council to tell him to stop wasting tax dollars if they have no intention of making Burlington a place where illegal immigrants can come to hide from the law.

  9. Did you switch your voter registration to Queens yet, Tirade? If not, don’t forget! It would be an act of voter fraud if you tried to vote in Burlington.

  10. “…with regard to the civil statutes there’s a great deal of policy discussion that will have to take place between the research that we found and any implementation. So it’s months away.” – Joe McNeil, 5/31/06

    Sounds like they’re still slogging away at it. I can’t wait to see this disaster put to bed.

  11. I can’t wait to see this disaster put to bed.

    Your wish is granted.

  12. Really, they already voted to bury the sanctuary city proposal? Glad to hear it.

  13. “It would be an act of voter fraud if you tried to vote in Burlington.”

    Haik, thanks for the civics lesson. I have no intention of voting to elect officials in a state outside of the one which I reside.

  14. Yeah, Haik, NYC needs all the conservatives it can get, too!

  15. Thanks for the blog mention & for letting Hardy sub for you on Friday! ;)

  16. From the Vermont Guardian (

    “However, Wright points out that Kiss’ initial budget committee did not have a Republican on the panel. After he pointed this out, Kiss appointed Gene Richards, the CEO of Spruce Mortgage.

    Richards, in his initial interactions, said he has been impressed with Kiss’ commitment to tackling the tough issues he was handed.

    “As a taxpayer, I feel really good about the committee’s work,” said Richards. “I think he’s in a tough situation, but I don’t know what the solution is right now. It’s going to be a team approach if we’re going to get results.””

  17. Great, that’s one taxpayer that feels good about it.