City Council members are ready to move forward and hold their first vote on Mayor Andy Berke's $212 million budget plan.
In a brief meeting Tuesday morning, members of the group signaled approval with changes made to the plan, specifically with funds marked for paving and road maintenance. They will vote on the budget's first reading tonight.
After hearing concerns from council members, Berke's staff amended the budget to include more than $2.5 million for paving—the most marked for roads since 2004. Andrew Kean, chief operating officer for the city, said an additional $750,000 for paving was shifted from funds marked for repair and replacement of city-owned property, such as office furniture, as well as the city's contingency fund.
Approximately $61,000 requested by the city's office of internal audit will also be moved to the paving budget, which keeps the budget line for the audit office flat.
The changes don't affect the overall budget and will not require any tax increase.
Council members applauded the moves.
"The administration was willing to sit down and work through it," Councilman Ken Smith said. "I've been very happy."
Last week, Smith said he would like to see $5 million marked for paving. Councilman Chip Henderson also requested a bump in funding but said he'd prefer the amount to be $3.5 million. On Tuesday, Henderson said he was pleased with the changes, despite being lower than his desire, because he saw it as the start of a process.
"I look at this as year one of a process," Henderson said. "I didn't get everything I wanted, but the administration was responsive. I'm happy with it."
The budget must be approved on two readings by the council in order to pass.
Council members also said they were ready to hold their first vote on the mayor's capital budget next week.
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