Budget talk at City Hall
Have you ever wondered how Bay Village decides when to buy a new ladder truck for the fire department? How many new police cruisers will we buy over the next five years? How much would reorganizing the police department save? What's next up for improvements to the pool or Play in Bay? Which of Bay's 47 miles of roadway will be resurfaced next summer? Is Community Services planning any new programs? Will any taxes or fees need to be raised to pay for it all?
It's all in the budget book. And that is available on the city's website, along with the most recent state audit and month-end financial report.
More importantly, for the next few weeks, it's all under discussion at 6 p.m. on Monday nights in the City Hall conference room. Council Member-at-Large Dwight Clark chairs the Finance Committee, which includes Wards 1 and 4 Councilmen Dave Tadych and Tom Henderson. However, most Council members attend – and they all ask questions.
Department heads have been giving overviews of their 2014 accomplishments, their operating assumptions for 2015, and their anticipated capital requests for the next five years. In coming weeks, the discussion will become more granular as department needs are balanced against taxpayers' ability to pay.
By law, the budget must be approved by March 31, 2015. However, the goal is to complete the review and three readings for the appropriation ordinance before the first penny is spent in January. This will be a milestone accomplishment for the City, which has traditionally worked under temporary appropriations as the final budget was hammered out.
Kudos to Mayor Deborah Sutherland's administration and to City Council for setting the bar higher this year. Accolades to Finance Director Renee Mahoney, who over her tenure has worked hard to make City finances both more understandable and more transparent to the public. And laurels to you, if you take the time to become an informed citizen!