You Takoma Parkians should start loading the catapults with e-mail to your county representatives RIGHT NOW! That’s what city mayor Bruce Williams says. And HURRY! You have only a few days to get your message across before the county council’s May 10 meeting.
The message the mayor urges residents to bombard the county with is to restore the 20% cut from all municipalities! County Executive Isiah Leggett proposes such a cut on top of the 5% cut he previously proposed.
County councilmembers can stop the latest proposal by voting for the recommendations made by the county Management and Fiscal Policy Committee Friday, April 30.
Mayor Williams attended that committee meeting to advocate for the city. The previous 5% cut to municipalities was “a done deal!, said the mayor, and the city’s current proposed 2011 budget already accounts for this.
But the committee did not fully approve this cut, which would mean an additional 600,000 slashed from Takoma Park’s revenues. Such deep cuts would mean the city manager would have to redraft the city budget with more trims than a Marine recruit’s haircut.
They made two recommendations, one to restore the first half of the municipal cuts, the other to restore the second half. Odd way to go about it, Your Gilbert thinks, but perhaps they are thinking that it would be better to have half a restoration than to have none.
If we were cynical, we might think the committee has found a way for them and the full council to cater to both sides. They can claim to have championed the municipalities by preventing half the cuts – while still slashing their revenues 10%.
As the mayor pointed out, regardless of where the cuts are made, the county is still facing a $900,000,000 budget hole. The mayor said, “any restoration of a proposed cut will need replacement cuts from somewhere else.”
Maybe a 10% cut was what the County Executive has had in mind all along? Each 10% cut represents $300,000 to the city – and a grim trip back to the chopping block for the city manager.
The next few days “are crucial” said the mayor, “the County Council begins full budget deliberations on May 10.” Five votes are needed. He thinks the city has support from Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Duchy Trachtenberg (both at-large), Valerie Ervin, Phil Andrews, and Nancy Navarro.
He thought councilmember Roger Berliner may also support the recommendations.
Mayor Williams helpfully noted that people could send one e-mail that goes to all of the Council by sending it to the Council President, Nancy Floreen, at email@example.com The other two are Councilmembers George Leventhal (at-large) and Mike Knapp.