time to approve our 2014 budget

In almost 2 years serving on our City Council, budgets and money seem to be the thing citizens want to talk about least. I receive more comments about issues such as street renaming, homeless shelters and chickens.

Sure, budgets can be boring. I mean, no one has expressed concern to me over how much it costs to plow our streets, though we all expect that snow will be cleared immediately after a storm. But setting a budget is indeed important, and you need to know that a lot of time, effort, and thought by the Mayor and others is put into developing our budget each year.

If this kind of thing doesn’t typically trip your trigger, could I interest you in perhaps at least reading the summary of our 2014 budget? If approved, we’ll spend $15.9 million in 2014. Here’s the document:

You’ll find a 6-page memo starting on page 4 of the 434-page document that summarizes things well. If you have any concerns or questions, you can certainly let me know, or please come to our next council meeting on Tuesday, November 19 where we’ll have time set aside to hear comments from citizens. Even if you don’t have a specific comment, I hope you’ll still come to the meeting to listen to the discussion and hear what goes into a budget vote.

Please also know that we will never have a city where everyone agrees all of the time. We have a diverse population and a diverse City Council. So I certainly don’t expect you to like every vote I make. But I do hope you know that I give much thought about every issue we handle, especially the significant ones that directly affect the lives of our citizens and employees. And I do enjoy talking to you about what we’re doing.

Aside from all the numbers and line items, I’d like to bring your attention to one particular statement on page 28 which addresses the performance of the City Council. When showing the results for the past year’s performance, it says, “The Administration did not receive any complaints regarding a citizen’s inability to contact an alderperson.” I hope that statement is indicative of your experience, that you really did not have any trouble reaching me or any of my fellow alderpersons. I try to be as available as possible. In the past year, I’ve responded to inquiries via telephone, e-mail, Facebook and yes, even Twitter. While telephone is the most used, all methods work well for me. And I also hope you find that my blog and Facebook activities help to keep you informed, without you having to contact me at all. So, whether it’s this budget that we expect to approve on Tuesday, or anything else, I hope you’ll feel welcome to contact me about any concerns you have.