Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Mayor and Council pass Rockville FY-2016 budget, add $1.2M reserves amendment
Councilmember Beryl Feinberg proposed an amendment to the budget, which would set aside $1.2 million from the unassigned general fund balance to pay for the Compensation and Class Study costs, which have not yet been determined.
The addition was opposed by Councilmembers Tom Moore and Julie Palakovich Carr. Moore said "there's no one of us who cares more about the employees than the other," but argued that setting a specific amount would raise expectations, and box the city in at a later date.
"I respectfully disagree," Feinberg said. She described the amendment as being "a transparency issue for our residents," to give them advance notice of a possible expense not covered in the budget being passed last night. City Budget and Finance Director Stacey Webster said the city would not be tied to a specific figure even if one was included in the budget. Feinberg said the reserves would be simply a "placeholder," not a fixed expense.
Palakovich Carr was concerned that the Mayor and Council "may be sending the wrong message," in only setting aside funds for those employees who are compensated from the general fund.
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said it was "incumbent upon us as stewards of this city...that we show a good faith effort" regarding employees and the budget.
The reserves amendment passed 3-2, with Moore and Palakovich Carr opposed. Ultimately, the Mayor and Council unanimously passed the FY2016 budget. The trash fee vote was unanimous, as well.
Photo courtesy City of Rockville