City Budget Disaster

While the first meeting on the proposed 2016 Batavia city budget sounded as if the Council was really concerned about imposing greater burden on citizens, the second meeting was a tax-and-spend nightmare.

Reported results: Increases in

  • property taxes
  • gas tax
  • liquor tax
  • electricity
  • water
  • sewer
  • leaf and brush

AND of the 2 cuts to the budget discussed last week, they are now only considering one–$30K for new electronic signs at the fire houses.

Last week Finance Director Peggy Colby gave Council a broad list of possible cuts. City Administrator Bill McGrath accused Council of trying to micromanage but suggested Council could direct him to make cuts to departments ($ or %), and the departments could decide where to cut. Council apparently did not like either Colby’s or McGrath’s suggestions and just went with full spending.

Thank you to Aldermen Marty Callahan and Kevin Botterman who stood up for citizens with common sense, and to Alderman Nick Cerone who reportedly stood with them on most things. But those 3 were outnumbered by 7 other aldermen.

Please, if you want to see any sort of fiscal restraint in the Batavia City government, contact your aldermen. They need to hear from you. They think you’re OK with the increases. They say the people they talk to in their wards are happy. They say they don’t hear the complaints that Alderman Callahan talks about. If you’re not happy, you need to tell them. Then see if they will bring up your concerns. If they don’t, elect someone else next time.

To email your aldermen, click the City Council button to the right.

There’s a ward map there so you can find who your aldermen are if you don’t know. You could also email the whole council, but please include in the email who your aldermen are, so they know you are talking directly to them. Even a simple, “No increases before you make cuts,” would give them direction.

Even though the City taxes much less than the school district, they still need to be responsible with the money entrusted to them. They need to distinguish between wants and needs. But they’re obviously not going to even try unless they hear from enough of their constituents.

And if you can, please attend the City Council budget public hearing this coming Monday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 pm.

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