UPDATE: After reading this..click over to Left in Lowell and read Jack Mitchell’s take.
Tonight’s 2nd Council Budget meeting saw the City council vote to cut $79,500 to go along with the $2,010 they cut from the Mayor’s Aide Tuesday totaling $81,510 of a $300 Million Dollar Budget.
Councilor’s Elliot, Mercier, Kennedy and Mendonca were mostly the proponents of cutting but couldn’t find a 5th when one was needed for a major cut that would have helped the homeowners.
However the Council lead by Councilors Broderick, Martin, Murphy with usually strong support from Nuon and Lorrey held fast to the City Manager’s proposal and rejected cutting the budget by a proposed $985,000 depriving homeowners of having a 0% property tax increase.
None of the suggested cuts affected personal and most had a strong argument to support it and assist homeowners but Martin, Broderick, Murphy and Nuon were NO votes on major cuts that would have helped the average homeowner and family.
I salute Councilor Rodney Elliot who proposed $875,000 in cuts including:
$200,000 from the Manager’s “contingency” fund which was approved at $300,000
$500,000 of 1 Million set aside for employee raises (Council left the million)
$100,000 from $1.2 Million of the snow and Ice Account
$40,000 from the Fire Dept. Overtime Account
$25,000 from the Law Dept. Professional Service Acct.
$10,00 from City Manager Professional Service Acct.
Councilor Ed Kennedy asked for $100,000 from the $900,000 Police Overtime Acct.
Councilor Mercier asked for $10,000 from the Planning and Development
The City is going to get a potential $300,000 in reimbursement from the State for the Snow /Ice storm in October and the city always has funds left over funds at the end of the fiscal year that goes to “Free Cash” and this year NO snow and ice deficit.
The City could have used those funds and transferred the $200,00 into the Manager’s contingency fund so approving at least those $300,000 in cuts should have been a no brainer.
I can see not cutting the Million Dollars for contracts but the council could have easily made over $400,000 in cuts and assured the taxpayers of NO property tax increase.
The cuts that were made:
Mercier – $4,500 from Fire Dept. Misc.
Mendonca – $30,000 from Manager’s contingency
Elliot – $20,000 from Gas & Oil from Lowell Police & $25,000 from DPW Misc.
The meeting had some interesting moments especially when it appeared Councilor Elliot was doing the Sun’s bidding and trying to get the Solicitor to reveal what the city spent on private investigators in the 2008 A.K. /Sandy Ames probe.
The City Clerk was having a hard time with the Yays and Nays and had to be corrected 3-4 times.
Mayor Murphy looked upset at several points and had a back and forth with Councilor Elliot on at least 2 occasions and looked like he was upset at Councilor Lorrey when he requested a break.
Councilor Bill Martin was upset that while he voted to move the start of tonight’s meeting to accommodate Councilor Mendonca, when the Mayor proposed staying after 10 PM Councilor Mendonca voted NO and now the Council has to meet Saturday morning at 9:00 am to finish the budget.