Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Mayor Frank Melton has backed out of his tax proposals for the third time since he became mayor in 2005. City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly Evans told the city council on Monday that the administration has no plan to stick behind its commitment to raise city water and sewer rates by a combined total of almost 15 percent. Melton proposed the fee increase in September to cover shortfalls in the 2007-08 budget cycle. O'Reilly-Evans informed council members that Melton's decision would create a $3.2 million budget deficit.
Council President Leslie McLemore said the political about-face puts the council in a tough position.
"Legal was looking at the implications on Monday. The Department of Public Works has been trying to convince (Melton) to go ahead and support the rate increase, but if he doesn't, we'll have to reconfigure the budget ourselves," McLemore said. "If we don't get recommendations, the council will have to take actions."
McLemore said that as of Tuesday morning the administration had not submitted a budget alteration that would accommodate the $3.2 million deficit; Melton has attempted to pile new bills on the budget including $42,000 in pay raises for his two bodyguards who he promoted to sergeant and assistant police chief.
A majority of the council has, so far, stalled budget transfers that would have financed the pay raises for bodyguards Michael Recio and Marcus Wright. The two men are certified merely as patrol officers, and the local police union is furious that Melton would promote his bodyguards over more experienced officers in the department.
Melton seemingly does not talk to his finance people very often. He flip-flopped on a similar tax increase during the September budget hearings, disowning his own budget less than three days after handing it to the council. The mayor also disavowed a budget with a tax increase in 2005, literally within hours of submitting it.
"The thing is, (Melton's) going to have to cut city services if he doesn't follow up with this fee increase that he approved, because I don't think the council will be approving any budget transfers to cover the hole," Budget Committee Chairman Marshand Crisler said. "He can play politics all he wants, but that money's got to come from somewhere."
Flip-flopping taken to a whole new level...
Everyone who voted for this guy should have their voting rights revoked PERMANENTLY! i've lived in a lot of Southern cities and i've never seen anything this pathetic...