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Read Josh’s plan to fix the budget mess

The buck stops over there! The City Council takes inaction on impending insolvency.

Pam Stuart asked for your vote and receives a paycheck to do the work of a councilmember—the primary job being passing a balanced, sustainable budget. Instead, she’s just passing the buck.

The top responsibility of the city council is to pass a budget, the primary policy document for the city. It shows our priorities and our values. In the last budget cycle my opponent, Pam Stuart, voted for a deficit budget that puts us on a path to insolvency by the middle of 2027.

Charts and graphs were presented to the council to demonstrate the financial challenges.

They knew this was happening. They had an initial meeting on October 12, 2021, and again on June 29, 2022. The second meeting was dedicated entirely to this problem and lasted nearly two and a half hours. It was made abundantly clear to the council that there was a problem using a dashboard with plenty of charts and graphs.

There are many levers they could have pulled when they passed the budget a few short months later, in November 2022, that could have reduced the impact of any budget reform. Instead, they increased your property taxes and recurring expenses, worsening the problem and driving us to insolvency sooner.

This problem didn’t sneak up on anyone. All the councilmembers knew this was coming. It was a topic of the City Council retreat over 7 years ago, and it’s been discussed every budget cycle since. In fact, I wrote about the problem in November of 2020.

Slide from a presentation to the council during the 2016 City Council retreat demonstrating expenditures would soon exceed expenses.

I am running against incumbent Councilmember Pam Stuart. When first elected in 2017, she “pledged to … create a practical financial plan and budget for the long-term”. That has not happened.

After not only ignoring the problem but making it worse, she voted to assemble a resident advisory panel to make a recommendation on all potential tax increases and spending cuts. Advisory panels are important, but this one is being assembled to hide behind them. No matter the tax increase or spending cut, she can point to the advisory panel’s recommendation and say, “This was a recommendation from a resident-led advisory panel. I’m just listening to residents!”

Councilmember Pam Stuart asked for your vote and receives a paycheck to do the work of a councilmember—the primary job being passing a balanced, sustainable budget. Instead, she’s just passing the buck.