4.18 mill cut in GF most likely
Council members Eliot Glassheim and Bob Brooks have both favored cutting the city's debt early rather than cutting property taxes by just 2.5 mills.
Council member Doug Christensen said he's not agonizing over the 2.5 mills because he's got bigger fish to fry when it comes to the budget. We'll get to that in a moment.
Council member Art Bakken feels the same way Eliot and Bob does. He's a professed fiscal conservative, but he's taking the fiscal prudence approach this time -- as in don't dawdle around when you've got heavy debt to pay.
Council member Curt Kreun feels as Hal does, which is that the tax relief is needed now not in 2014, the earliest the dikes will be paid off. Only Council member Mike McNamara has not weighed in. He's still in Iraq.
Back to Doug's big fish. Hal's frying the same fish, too.
They've got some questions about the administration's spending priorities. Doug accused finance director John Schmisek of talking about paying off the debt in one breath and, in another breath, talk about bonding to pay for the police and fire training center and mosquito control chemical storage facility. Cost: $6.5 million.
Doug and a bunch of other council members are also worried about the pension fund and the fact that it's short of money. There's some talk of spending down reserves to bridge the gap or maybe specifically dedicating certain mills for the fund. I admit this is a little murky for me because it's such a devilishly complicated issue.
Doug also wants to know why the city has such a high level of reserves in its enterprise fund, which is where the utilities get their money. He knows very well that the money is for the wastewater treatment plant to replace the lagoons. But he figures the city can bond for it, as in get into more debt. I think he's flying solo on this one.