Well, while we continue to enjoy all of the post-Convention excitement (or complaints), there’s still a City that is being run–and it’s budget time! And it’s time to look at some of the budget amendments proposed by our members of Council.
Helena Brown: Yes, let’s start here. Seems the right-winger wants to destroy the City by having it default on contributions to the city’s pension funds. She wants to let the Texas Supreme Court decide. Yeah, that’s the right-wing way; send all of their bad ideas to a right-wing Supreme Court who will rubber stamp it.
What may have been one of Brown’s more lucid ideas was that of proposing the city go to a city manager-run government. Then she basically uses it to attack the employee unions and out goes the lucidity. There’s a better way to argue for a manager-run city hall. Kuff has more.
Jack Christie: His fill-it or kill-it idea has some good qualities; however, taking away the freedom from department heads to fill a position as they see fit, and forcing them into a justification phase that could take weeks, doesn’t do the city a service. Better to have a little bit of freedom than simply pretend Council is cutting jobs. Christie also proposes that revenues exceeding what the city expects to take in should go directly to the pension investment. Seems like a good idea, but after undergoing so many cuts, the City should have some freedom on how to spend that money. With a looming hot summer that may bring another drought, we need to be ready for anything.
Ellen Cohen: The former State Rep. is offering her “pole tax” to the City for the purpose of clearing the rape kit backlog. The $5 fee to “adult entertainment establishment” operators based on the number of customers could bring in $3 million per year. I think it’s a good idea.
Ed Gonzalez: The Mayor pro-tem’s amendments were pretty solid this year. Complete streets and pocket parks are great ideas; however, the one that really caught my attention was the creation of an Office of Efficiency and Effectiveness which would “use data-driven decision-making to ensure that departments are meeting their goals and objectives in order to best serve our citizens.” Some questions that will be asked: Another bureaucracy? Can this be folded into the Controller’s office? Etc. Frankly, I like the idea of an independent office that would work well with employees and management to determine goals and objectives and a path on how best to be effective.
That’s all I have for now. I’ll seek out other budget amendments today, or just send them in.