By Bill Oakey
March 13, 2014
Yes, you read that right. For the second year in a row, the Austin City Council has a budget surplus. This time it is $14.2 million. And, just like last year, there is a real danger that the City Council will spend it as fast as they can. City Manager Marc Ott has recommended that the money be be saved. And yet, within the blink of an eye, several members of the City Council developed a grab bag of wish list items to spend the money before the printer ink displaying the surplus could even dry.
What you are reading right now is a CALL TO ACTION FOR ALL TAXPAYERS. If we act quickly, there is still time to call a halt to this midyear spending spree and provide a cushion in the City’s reserves. Reserves can be used for taxpayer relief or held for improved financial stability.
Last year Mayor Lee Leffingwell was the only person on the City Council to vote against spending the surplus. But the other members of the City Council need to hear from you as soon as possible. The fate of the budget surplus could be decided at a City Council work session this Tuesday, March 18th. Taxpayer advocates have asked for a delay beyond next week, but nothing is certain.
If you belong to any organizations, please send a link to this blog page to all of your members. Then post it on your Facebook page and send it in your Twitter feeds. And email it to everyone on your contact list. This is a non-partisan effort to bring long-needed fiscal responsibility to City Hall.
If you are concerned about affordability and the economic well being of your friends and neighbors, please take the time to email or call each of the City Council members, using the contact information below. Ask them not to spend any of the budget surplus. It is time for them to finally get serious and show us that they care about Austin affordability.
Contact for the Austin City Council:
Mayor Lee Leffingwell – mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org , (512) 974-2250
Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole – mailto:email@example.com , (512) 974-2266
Council Member Mike Martinez – mailto:Mike.Martinez@austintexas.gov , (512) 974-2264
Council Member Laura Morrison – mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org , (512) 974-2258
Council Member Chris Riley – mailto:email@example.com , (512) 974-2260
Council Member Kathi Tovo – mailto:Kathie.Tovo@austintexas.gov , (512) 974-2255
Council Member Bill Spelman – mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org , (512) 974-2256