Last night, City Council has added a police officer, they say is a result of the police CBA. The decision actually adds nearly $100K to the spending plan and would add another one percent to the tax hike. Concern over crime and a vexing and growing heroin epidemic prompted the action.
It's a tough issue, especially after hearing about how many police interventions in overdose cases using the opiate neutralizing drug, Narcan.
Council also reportedly has drawn a line in the sand on the tax cap.
Staff is pleading with Council members to bust through the cap. So far there has been no disussion I have heard on why the additional funds from last years sales tax hike do not have a mitigating effect on property taxes. The rate increase of a quarter point will generate an extra $1.1M a year starting with last December 1.
Council will meet Monday and the entire session is devoted to the Fire Department, and perhaps there will be insight into the strategies and agendies being pursued.
The local law on the tax cap comes up at the next regular Council meeting. If they don't approve it, they will have to instruct staff to make the numbers work by the May 31 approval deadline.
Appropriation of fund balance is the easiest route along with some minor cuts and cutting out the management pay raises also has appeal to lawmakers.