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Alexandria mayor, council finance team discuss proposed budget

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Written by: Bret H. McCormick
bmccormick@ 

During the fourth and final budget meeting of the Alexandria City Council’s Finance Committee, Mayor Jacques M. Roy and council members sat at the same table on Wednesday to discuss the city’s proposed budget for 2011-12.

Roy was joined at the table by his budget director, David Johnson, and utilities director, Michael Marcotte. The three members of the administration discussed budget items with council members during a meeting that lasted more than three hours.

It wasn’t always smooth, but it was at times lighthearted and certainly productive for taxpayers to see the city’s top officials communicating in person.

Ed Larvadain III, Finance Committee chairman, said at one point that everyone will “be here all day” when Roy started addressing questions that had been asked by council members at the three previous meetings.

On several occasions, Larvadain said it would have been easier had the mayor attended the earlier meetings, prompting Roy to say he would leave the meeting if Larvadain continued.

There were a few testy exchanges between the mayor and District 2 Councilwoman Mitzi Gibson, but as the meeting progressed, the mood lightened. Roy addressed a number of questions and shared insight into how and why certain decisions were made in the proposed budget.

The mayor reiterated his priority list for re-funding the budget should additional money become available. He also de-emphasized repaying the Utility Fund transfers that helped balance the budget and instead said emphasis should be placed on overtime for public safety and public works employees.

Roy also stressed the importance of maintaining the city’s more than $12 million surplus, despite the 2011-12 budget requiring 32-hour furloughs for all of the city’s classified employees.

“It’s not raining as hard for Alexandria as it may rain next fiscal year,” Roy said.

Furloughs and increased health insurance premiums will pose challenges, he said, but the proposed budget avoids layoffs.

“Furloughs are a last resort,” Roy said. “It’s not something I would ever wake up and want, but furloughs are better than layoffs.”

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Written by demon53

April 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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