Much of the confusion on the Greensboro City Council over how to provide the increased revenue for the emergency fund at the Tuesday, May 3 was caused by having three different proposed plans.
Three different plans, all purported to be the staff’s recommendation for increasing revenue by the $9 million needed to bring the emergency fund up to the state minimum, were circulating around.
First there was the information provided in the agenda for the public that recommended increasing the property tax rate by 0.25 cents, which would produce about $900,000 a year and bring the city up to the required 25 percent of operating funds in 10 years. This plan was rejected by the City Council at its work session on Thursday, April 28, but was the only plan included in the agenda packet.
Second was a list of three proposals that was emailed to the City Council, but not provided to the public.
Finally there were the three proposals that were in the presentation that Financial and Administrative Services Director Marlene Druga presented to the City Council at the meeting May 3, but copies of those proposals were not provided to the public.
So the public was provided with one out of date proposal that the City Council had already rejected. The City Council was provided with the out of date rejected proposal that was in the agenda packet and another proposal by email and then presented with a third at the meeting.
At the May 3 meeting City Councilmember Tammi Thurm said, “The options A, B, and C on the documents we have been given are not the same as the options on the screen. Option A, B and C on this document clearly says that it will be a tax rate increase of 0.75 cents. That’s the documents that we have. This on the screen tells us we are committing some money to it, but it doesn’t say a tax increase. I have to be really clear that I am not in favor of a tax increase of 0.75 cents and cannot support that tax increase. However, I have different thoughts if we’re going to say we’re going to take some of our pot of money and commit it.”
The resolution passed by the City Council does include a tax increase as the only specific method of raising the necessary $9 million and Assistant City Manager Larry Davis said that the City Council had to include a specific method of raising the $9 million in the plan presented to the North Carolina Local Government Commission, even though councilmembers repeatedly said they were not in favor of a tax increase.
It will be interesting to see if the North Carolina Local Government Commission accepts the plan presented on May 8, since councilmembers and City Manager Tai Jaiyeobo repeatedly said that the plan did not have to be followed but was simply a plan to send to the LGC. If members of the LGC watch the City Council meeting they might have second thoughts about accepting a plan that the City Council indicated it does not intend to follow.