As City Council members review the recommended budget for 2019-2020, residents should do the same. Proposed is an additional $26 million, including $12 million more than last year for infrastructure to address needed maintenance.
Our growth and community needs also justify the additional $2.5 million for community services, and maybe more, in what amounts to just 7% of our city’s budget.
Other areas, though, are questionable. The additional $5.6 million for public safety brings total annual spending there to $150 million — or $10 million more than only two years ago — begging the question, can we afford that, and if we can, do we want to spend money that way?
Why not reduce costs by stopping the millions paid to settle police misconduct cases? The city wants $6.4 million more for debt service. Is that related to the new parking decks downtown for which the city could not offer a compelling justification?
If the expense council member Justin Outling wants to scrutinize is $500,000 (.01% of the budget!) for Greensboro Participatory Budgeting that boosts civic participation amid public distrust of government, we should question his values and ask if he’s deliberately diverting our attention away from matters more pressing in the city.