Last Friday, City Council was given its first look at the G20 budget. The Mayor’s Office outlined a $16 million plan that would include $10 million from federal grants, $4.3 million from state grants and an additional $1.7 from the city’s capital budget. The obvious question to everyone in the room was, where is the county? Upset by this characterization of the budget and the comments from Council – myself included – the County Executive called for a meeting of City and County Council on Monday. What he presented was a different budget – one that called for $25 million in spending and an unfunded mandate of over $7 million dollars that would have to be made up by the city and county.
Obviously, there was a problem. The Mayor had submitted to Council a balanced budget of $16 million. Council was told he had to take action no later than Tuesday in order to make the needed public safety preparations – the clock was ticking. But, the County Executive told Council that the real budget was $25 million. Both sides claimed to be correct, but there was little time and a vote was needed to provide the needed resources and minimize any additional costs to the taxpayers.
Late Monday evening, early Tuesday morning and into the afternoon, City Council worked with the Mayor and the Public Safety Director to create one budget for the event. Because all of the money being spent upfront is being provided by the city, the Administration believes the reimbursement of funds from the G20 will come through the city. In order to stay disciplined to a set budget and not wind up with several million dollars in unfunded expenditures, City Council and the Mayor amended the budget – raising it to $18 million and adding a line item of all expenditures and budgets for each.
The new budget is balanced through a $10 million federal grant, a $4.4 million state grant, a $2.5 homeland security grant and $1.7 million from the city’s capital budget (in case it is needed). Moments before Council had to take action, there were two competing budgets being proposed. Through the actions yesterday, we now have a budget, a plan and the funds to make it happen.