Greg Stiverson On Mayor's Budget ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Greg Stiverson On Mayor's Budget

Former Historic Annapolis Foundation Director, Republican candidate for alderman and co-chair of Mayor Cohen's Transition Team Greg Stiverson gives his thoughts on the budget:

I attended Mayor Cohen's budget discussion last Monday. I found it remarkable for several reasons. First, the audience consisted of a true cross-section of Annapolis citizens--conservative Republicans, activist Democrats, employee union stalwarts, and everyone in between. Everyone was attentive to the remarks of the mayor and his staff and the majority of the meeting, which was devoted to public input, was astonishingly civil. Don't these folks know this is Annapolis, where civil discord, not civil discourse, is the norm?
Second, the mayor laid out the bleak economic realities the City faces without gloss or subterfuge. He even stated baldly (boldly?) that he had misjudged the situation during last fall's campaign and that he was wrong then in believing that the fiscal condition of the city could be addressed with minor fixes. What kind of politician is our new mayor? Isn't he supposed to be a protege of Ellen Moyer, the queen of subterfuge?

Third, City Administrative Officer Doug Smith and the mayor both said, without equivocation, that property tax increases are off the table and that the only recourse to balance this year's and next year's budgets are deep and painful cuts, including eliminating city contractual and permanent positions and extracting major concessions from the city unions. This was harsh and the results, if carried out, will be horrible for city employees and at least inconvenient for city residents, who will inevitably see city services cut or curtailed.

Finally, while the mayor stated clearly that these draconian cuts must be made, he admitted that the Council "is not there yet" on agreeing with him.

The next three months will be critical for the Cohen Administration and for the City of Annapolis. Turnout for the Monday meeting was not what it should have been. Every Annapolitan needs to pay attention and take a stand. We can support the mayor and his proposed budget cuts and work hard to minimize the damage to the city, its employees, and the services they provide. Or we can support those Council members who urge higher property taxes to raise additional revenue to minimize the reduction in City government that the mayor is proposing.

Whatever position one takes, now is not the time to relapse into the "culture of conflict" that has plagued our fair city for so long. I for one will provide whatever support I can to a mayor and administration who, for a change, are willing to tell it like it is and take the inevitable political lumps that will be coming their way. I hope all Annapolitans will do the same.

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March 4 Len Lazarick,Editor,
March 11 Mayor Josh Cohen (AT BB Bistro-West Annapolis)
March 18 County Executive Candidate Joanna Conti
March 25 County Councilman Chuck Ferrar

1 Comment:

Harvey Singer said...

Well-said. I also attended the 2nd forum on the budget, held the next night at Mt. Olive Community Center and was favorably struck both nights by:

1) The Administration's serious commitment to pay what we must for core city services, but not to pay more than we must, nor to pay for services that are very nice-but-not-necessary.

2) The willingness of almost every speaker, and the Administration both, to engage in productive dialog about which services WERE core, which services were nice-but-not-necessary, and which ways might be best worked out to come to agreement to maximize the services and benefit while controlling the cost AND while minimizing the pain to Annapolis residents. To me, that's what economics is all about, and it's also what civic discourse is all about.

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