Everyone is invited to our first 08 budget hearing, this Thursday, November 15th at One Government Center at 1:30pm.
We should have paper copies of the Mayor's 2008 budget proposal available, and we are asking Council staff to upload a link asap.
What to expect? Despite the overwhelming passage of Issue 22, "the Balanced Budget Amendment" doesn't become law until the Lucas County Board of Elections certifies the results of the November 6 General Election, probably around Thanksgiving.
Fortunately, the Mayor has already gone on record with Tom Troy (The Blade) with intentions to submit a balanced budget proposal this week. The proposal will be uniquely his, as he declined to meet with members of council to discuss our ideas for the 2008 operating budget. (I'll dig up the official memo from CoS Reinbolt and post it this week.)
It'll be interesting to see the growth in General Fund spending. From 03 to 05, it was $225 million. By 07, it grew to $248 million. Some of us hope to identify savings to eliminate the garbage tax in 08 and slow the growth in city taxing and spending.
A much debated proposal regarding an expansion of red light cameras probably deserves its own post - but I say we accept the value of increased safety and reinvest the revenue in a new police class.
There are at least two significant changes to the 2008 budget process. First, the Administration and City Council are adopting "performance based budgeting" - attempting to focus on outcomes, rather than line items. Second, new leadership on Council, from President Ashford to the members-elect, all anticipate significant public input and are open to dynamic changes that better reflect Toledo's priorities.
Those priorities, I hope, can be constructively debated here, in the local media, and face to face.