Budget for three

On the dais a week ago, after the City Council’s Freshmen Four defeated City Manager Gordon Palmer’s budget proposal, Mayor Ann Johnston told Palmer to come back with a plan her colleagues could embrace. Councilman Dale Fritchen, chairman of the council’s budget and finance committee, requested that his committee have input.

 

“I think it might be helpful,” he said.

 

Councilwoman Leslie Baranco Martin laughed at that, and Councilwoman Susan Eggman said the budget ought to be the full council’s to discuss. Johnston agreed.

 

“I think we need the full council to discuss it,” she said. “It should come back to the full council.”

 

Fritchen said OK.

 

But the following Monday it was at a budget and finance committee meeting – not a meeting of the full council – that Palmer asked for budget guidance. And it is to the committee Thursday that he is to bring a revised proposal or menu of proposals from which to choose. If the committee likes one, it could recommend that the full council adopt a budget a week from today.

 

“That’s the hope,” Johnston said this morning (She said she could not recall saying last week that the matter ought to return to the full council; that conversation was a brief one at the end of a hearing that lasted three hours). “The budget and finance committee is the logical place to go forward.”

 

For Palmer (and Johnston, by extension) it could be a wise move. The budget committee is composed of three of the four council members who objected to the budget proposal, and if Palmer is able by Thursday to deliver a menu of budget options, he will in just more than a week have managed to put on the committee members the kind of policymaking decisions they have said they want to make.

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