If you’re planning on watching the virtual City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, it would be wise to start making some popcorn ahead of time because it’s going to be a long night.
The public hearing on the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget was held on Tuesday, June 2, which means the City Council plans to vote on the budget. Exactly what budget the City Council will be voting on hasn’t been decided yet. The budget is item 41 on the agenda, which has this notation: “This item is being updated for Council adoption and will be posted once the revisions are complete.”
The 2020-2021 budget will be about $613 million, but the details of how that money will be spent is evidently still up in the air.
At the City Council budget work session on Tuesday, June 9, the City Council agreed to cut $500,000 from the Police Department budget for school resource officers (SROs). Other cuts to the Police Department budget were discussed, but at the time none had the support of the majority of the council.
However, the current City Council does most of its work in private; three or four councilmembers get together and reach an agreement. Then they enlist the support of one or two additional councilmembers and they have a majority. Councilmembers who are not contacted have complained about being completely blindsided at meetings by proposals that were never discussed in public.
So it is likely that the budget presented at the Tuesday meeting will have adjustments other than the one eliminating the funding for SROs.
Although, the public hearing has been held, the City Council has a policy at regular meetings of allowing the public to speak on any item on the agenda. If that policy is followed for virtual meetings it would allow people to speak on the budget. Written comments can be emailed to the address below for any item on the agenda.
Unlike the budget public hearing when the official announcement only listed how to comment by email, the announcement for this meeting states, “If you would like to provide comments on any annexation/zoning item and/or participate in the hearing the night of June 16 please email firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday June 15 at 12:00 p.m. Note that public hearing comments will be received from the time of the publication of this notice until 24 hours following the public hearing.”
Those who request to speak on a public hearing item “will be emailed a separate online meeting invitation with instructions on how to participate, including a unique password that cannot be used by other individuals.”