GIRARD AT LARGE EXCLUSIVE Posted 11:59 PM on June 11, 2012
Girard at Large has learned that three budget proposals will vie for votes at the special budget meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that will convene at 4 PM on June 12, 2012. Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig will once again propose a budget that gives more money to schools, but stays within the tax cap. Ward 3 Alderman Patrick Long and Ward 4 Alderman Jim Roy will bring forward the compromise budget they've been working on. And, Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo, as first reported by Girard at Large, will bring in his own proposal.
"I'm going to sit back and wait until the other proposals fail before I propose my budget," said Greazzo in an interview with Girard at Large. Greazzo's budget would essentially make the technical corrections needed in the mayor's budget to adjust for changes in various numbers and account for promises made to bargaining units that extended their contracts per the city's request.
However, rather than spend all of the expected budget surplus, Greazzo would split it in half, putting $550,000 toward tax rate reduction and $550,000 into the city's contingency fund for use by the schools. Greazzo said he couldn't justify spending all of the surplus that resulted from the city's mild Winter and wanted to see it returned to the taxpayer.
Girard at Large has learned that Craig will propose a budget very similar to the one that was vetoed by Mayor Ted Gatsas, except that she is expected to propose increasing auto registration revenues by $200,000 and apportioning the extra funds toward schools, contingency, and tax reduction. Craig returned our request for an interview with a text message admitting she was working on another proposal but refusing to share any details.
The aldermen who spoke with Girard at Large today were aware of Craig's increase in the auto registration fees and had questions of their own about it. "I've heard it floating around out there," said Roy. "But I haven't looked into those numbers, yet." As to his compromise budget, he was relatively confident he had the votes to get it passed.
It appears as if Craig's budget will be first on the docket, though. When asked if he'd support Craig's budget over his own proposal, Long said he would. "Look, the budget I've been working on with Jim (Roy) is a compromise. I'd rather go with Joyce's because it gives more to schools," he said "But I don't think she has 10 votes and that's important because I believe the mayor will veto her budget again," so we're lining up the compromise. Long believes his compromise budget, which Gatsas said he will not veto, has the votes it needed to pass.
However, Long and Roy told Girard at Large they are counting Greazzo in their vote count and Greazzo has told Girard at Large that he's not voting for anything that does't return at least some surplus to the taxpayer. Long told Girard at Large that their budget really hasn't changed, though they were going to look into this surprise increase in revenue from auto registrations to see, if real, how it could improve their budget.
Stay tuned to Girard at Large for continued coverage of these matters and all they affect.