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    For the Record: Councilman Dennis Carroll @ Sept. 2/03 Budget Hearing

    (Sept. 8, 2003) -- posts below salient portions of 4th district Councilman Dennis Carroll's statement at the Sept. 2 City Council budget hearing:

    ...I would like to make a few comments about the process we are in now and how it contrasts with what at least I have experienced in the last couple of years.

    And independent of the challenges that we face today, I'm very pleased that we have a process undertaken not quite a year ago, starting in November of last year, that has brought us to this place where we have a comprehensive plan that has involved the community, starting last Thanksgiving weekend really, where the Voice Your Choice first meeting occurred, where there has been input from over 10,000 of our citizens as to how they feel our resources should be best utilized. The Strategic Plan has been intimately involved in our planning. Over the last holiday season, I know the City Manager's staff, and there was a group actually in the fourth district, my budget advisory committee met over Thanksgiving through the Christmas holidays into the new year.

    This proposal which we are being presented this week and next week had been provisionally reviewed and approved by this Council in March. More ideas continue to come forward. More what I consider to be enthusiasm on the part of our employees and our managers about how to make this smaller, more efficient, tax friendlier city be better for our citizens and ourselves, is I think taking shape and finding purchase among us all.

    And I think we have much to be optimistic about, not the least of which is we do have a $30 million cushion for emergencies and I appreciate that we have that in place. Thank you to the Mayor for insisting in the last two years that we preserve that. And [City Manager] Jerry Miller presenting a timetable for the adoption of this plan which is being shaped and will be shaped in the next twenty-four months. This is a work in progress. And I want to thank the Mayor as well, Mayor, for keeping us on track and showing the kind of leadership that I think gives us a good running start at addressing the issues our city faces.

    And if we could fast forward three years from now, I am hopeful, and I think there is much evidence to support, that our city will be back on track and we will be able to commend ourselves for having the courage and the vision and being willing to undergo the sacrifices, the very real sacrifices, which we all are going to be required to make in the next 36 months.

    Our principle allegiance is to the taxpayers and to the safety of these citizens. We want to keep the commitments that we have made to our city employees, particularly our public safety men and women who keep us safe, and I hope that we are able to do that in a way that preserves the respect and trust and mutual regard that we have for each other...

    ...So I am hopeful that the Council, and I commend the Council at least from my perspective we all seem to be working in unison here towards that common goal, and I hope within the next two weeks by the [Sept.] 16th we are able to adopt the three year plan in framework as proposed by the City Manager. There may be an alteration or two, but from what I have heard, the plan that we are being presented with in the next two weeks is one that has taken into consideration the variety of pushes and pulls in our city and I think it is a workable one.

    So to that extent I have no additional questions tonight. I will look with interest on the next two weeks, and I want to thank again the City Manager and Suzanne [Mason] and the Mayor for the work that they have done.

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