Robyn Doolittle covers the proposed user fee increases in this year’s budget — none of which seem overly controversial — and closes was this quote from the deputy mayor:
Deputy mayor Doug Holyday said he’s not happy with the fee hikes, but they may be inevitable.
“We’re trying to not put additional costs on taxpayers, but it may take a year or two or three to get things under control. We’re playing the hand we were dealt.”
Very disingenuous. The hand they were dealt was a good one: surplus money. The city essentially could take one of two paths. The first would be to plow most of the surplus into reserves and debt payments, then raising fees/taxes and finding efficiencies — and making some cuts — to fill this year’s budget hole. The second would be more pragmatic: using some of the surplus to balance this year’s operating budget but still adding to reserves and debt payment. Both strategies assume a small property tax increase for 2011.
The Ford administration took the bizarre third path, freezing property taxes (which is essentially a cut), throwing the entire surplus at this year’s operating budget and then raising a bunch of user fees and cutting services to make things balance.