City Council demands to see a budget from the mayor

The city of Lynnwood is expected to face a shortfall of an estimated $21 million in 2011-2012.

Most, if not all departments will face cutbacks. Trouble is, councilmembers say, they don’t have any idea what those cuts will look like because Mayor Don Gough still hasn’t given them a budget.

“We haven’t seen a budget yet,” Councilman Mark Smith said Monday night. “I don’t want to talk about reducing city hall hours by a day, I don’t want to talk about reducing staffing levels, I don’t want to talk about union negotiations, I want to see a budget.”

“We can’t have a reasonable discussion about alternatives until we see a budget,” he said.

By law, the mayor doesn’t have to present a balanced budget until Nov. 1. But councilmembers say that won’t give them enough time to decide where to cut.

“That’s the law. That doesn’t mean it’s prudent. We need something now,” Councilman Jim Smith said.

In June councilmembers submitted their priorities for the budget, but they say it’s futile to go through those ideas until they see a budget.

“The administration knows what the priorities of the council are. It’s the administration’s responsibility to present a budget. I want to see a balanced budget sooner rather than later and at that point then we can engage in a discussion as a council about the budget,” Mark Smith said.

He compared the situation to fixing up a house he just bought.

“There’s a number of repairs we need to make and my wife and I aren’t going to sit down and have a serious discussion about which repairs to make until we have a budget for household repairs,” he said.

“I can tell you from personal experience that if I were to do this to my board, the first time around they might say ‘you obviously didn’t understand what we said, Mark.’ And then if I came back to them again without a budget or said I want you guys to decide all this stuff before I actually create a budget, they’d either laugh me out of the room or fire my butt,” he said. “It’s time for the mayor as the CEO of this municipal corporation to create a budget.”

The new budget must be approved in December.

Monday night’s meeting was the first since the council called on Mayor Gough to resign because of his alleged mistreatment of city employees. However, he left the meeting early before the council comment portion.

  1. I'm sorry, but if this proves anything, it proves the incompetence and political opportunism of the Lynnwood City Council.

    For months now, culminating in the past few weeks, they have randomized and distracted the mayor with this asinine censure issue over his managerial style, spending $31,000 for a report that basically turned out to be a dud. Despite that they had plenty of time to convene a meeting to vote to censure him and demand his resignation.

    But they didn't have time to meet in order to amend the law to require the mayor present his budget earlier? I mean, if it's so all-out imperative that they have a budget earlier than the current legal deadline, then one would think they would proactively act to mandate it.

    If the law is faulty, then that is 100% the fault of the City Council. The law states that the budget is due on Nov. 1. Anybody who has ever prepared a bidget knows that you can't just snap your fingers and magic one up into existence the minute some councilman imperiously demands it right this damn minute.

    This is yet more opportunism by Lynnwood City Council, plain and clear. Simply appalling.

  2. Mr. mayor is now time you produce your budget for this City. So that city council can start to work on the budget with priorities that we Citzens have outlined to the City Council what it is important to us. This means no Budget cutting to our public safety forces as reported.

  3. Just remember, money doesn't grown on trees, and unlike the feds, the city can't just print up some more.

    Instead of stridently demanding no cuts to fire or police, you better have looked over the whole existing budged and looked at areas where CUTS need to be made.


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