Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rosen Insistent on $7 million for schools

Councilman Court Rosen is unyielding in his desire to dip into the Budget Stabilization Fund for $7 million dollars to help out the schools with their budget crisis. A noble gesture but clearer heads on Council seem to realize this number is an impossibility.
As the City Manager, Darlene Burcham, pointed out $3 million will be very difficult and $7 million would be impossible without cutting severely into public safety.
Based on 36.42% of local taxes the schools will get less funds from the city to the tune of $2,0087,558.
Adding back the promise of the additional $500,000 yearly increase to the schools and the shortfall from the city comes to $1,587,558. The consensus seems to be to almost double the shortfall. In a real sense the $3 million would result in less than $500,000 more dollars then the previous year.
Schools comprise 27% of the City’s budget with Public Safety close behind at 24%. The question that Burcham put to Council was “do you want to cut into Public Safety?” There is already incentives for police officers and fire EMS personnel to take early retirement. However, according to a police officer few will take the minimal incentive. One thing is clear there is much more work to do and Council members need to be flexible as they see some of their once favored funding items go by the wayside. A good example of this was when Mayor Bowers bemoaned cutting the subsidy to the law library at the budget work session – its gone.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Roanoke City Politics

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