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June 4, 2003



In a press conference called shortly after the City Council passed the 2004 City Operating Budget, Mayor Harris condemned the process orchestrated by Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi.

 “On March 2nd, we submitted a balanced budget to the City Council,” the Mayor said.  “After three months of chaos and false alarms from the Budget Committee, the Council today has passed essentially the same budget we submitted—cutting only one tenth of one percent.  There are problems however with the way that the money has been moved within the budget, and that movement reflects misplaced priorities and—in some cases—may be illegal.

 “For example, they cut $107,000 that will force the closing of at least two satellite city halls and a mobile satellite.  They used that money to fund a special festival.  The curbside recycling program was killed and then they cut the recycling fund to balance the budget.  Additionally, they cut the funds for road maintenance and spare parts for ambulances and refuse trucks to put $190,000 into their budget for a consultant who will plan a Council conference in 2005.

 “I am especially concerned about blatant overstatement of revenues, such as the projected income from our sports facilities, the double counting of income, and the  Council’s movement of a CDBG function between departments.  Not only does that violate the City Charter, it eliminates one of the tenets of internal controls.”

The Mayor summarized the Council’s processing of the budget saying, “It has wasted thousands of hours of City employee time.  We have had to correct errors in revisions submitted to us at the eleventh hour, and even then the Council has continued to move forward with a budget characterized by errors and flaws.  It is time for them to put the people’s business above politics and bring to an end the chaos that has marked the budget process during the past two years.”



Thursday, June 05, 2003

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