Monday, November 18, 2013

My budget work turned deficits into surpluses while maintaining services.

There was so much that happened in the two short years that I was Mayor. One of the larger was the city budget.

When I arrived as Mayor, I had to contend with tens of millions in budget deficits that I inherited. Despite this, I and the Council successful balanced two budgets (FY12, FY13) - turning deficits into surpluses, while maintaining the quality of public services and improving support for schools. And, after a lot of budget work this year, I succeeded in making about $10 million extra available to complete the current year budget (FY14) in balance - if the new administration manages well, as my administration did.

I always said that addressing the budget problems I inherited would be more than a two year project, and that every budget year for 4-5 years would require a lot of work, adjustments and innovative thinking. Easy and simple solutions were just not going to do it. That was true straight through my time as Mayor, but I addressed these challenges in a way that maintained the quality of services and moved the city forward. Since the new administration now faces at least two more years of addressing the budget problems I inherited, that same level of innovation, hard work and flexibility will be needed.

And, just as I did, I hope that the new administration will continue to do this while maintaining public services and moving the city forward. Our community would not be well served by announcements about budget challenges that are made as a pretext for cutting public services that were preserved under my administration. Those public services - education, parks, public safety, roads and infrastructure etc. - are important for our city's people, and I urge our city's people to advocate for them.