Council Upholds Majority of Budget Vetoes
Today, during City Council’s Special Called Meeting, Council voted to uphold five of the Mayor Bach’s budget vetoes and voted to override three.
While Council overrode the Mayor’s veto that would have eliminated funding for adequate parks watering, they agreed with the Mayor that the police budget should be fully funded. Council’s budget ordinance had reduced the increase to the police budget proposed by the Mayor by 8 percent, which Council had decided was necessary to fill part of a $1.13 million gap in the Mayor’s budget relating to parks watering.
“Both police and parks are critical to our community. There isn’t a perfect answer to the $1.13 million budget shortage,” stated Councilman Merv Bennett.
Because of the restoration of full funding to the 2014 police budget, the full amount of funding needed for parks watering will come from the City’s reserve fund.
“It is my hope that Council and the Mayor work together in 2014 to come up with a permanent solution for parks watering. Taking monies from the reserve fund or other departments isn’t a solution,” stated Councilman Val Snider.
Council also agreed with the Mayor to fully fund the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Regional Business Alliance, with the caveat that methods of accountability be fully vetted by the Lodging and Automobile Rental Tax Committee for the 2015 budget cycle.
Council also supported the Mayor’s hiring of a deputy director for the Office of Emergency Management — a position that had been eliminated by Council in their budget ordinance in order to help restore some of the funding they had proposed to cut from the police budget.
Also at today’s meeting, Council voted 6-3 to override the Mayor’s veto on sections 1 and 3 of the 2014 Budget Ordinance. Section 1 sets the number of appropriating departments for budgeting purposes at 12, a departure from the past two years, when the number of appropriating departments in the ordinance was set at five.
“This issue is very fundamental as to how many departments there are—the City Charter lists 12. We are following what the Charter states,” said Councilman Andy Pico.
Section 3 of the ordinance, which the Mayor vetoed and Council overrode today, did not appropriate any funding, but rather expressed two of Council’s major legislative determinations relating to the budget, concerning maintenance and safety in the City’s parks.