SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane City Council has some major decisions to make at next week's meeting. Among them, what to do about a $10 million dollar budget shortfall.
Mayor David Condon announced his plan to get Spokane back in the black this October. The theme of his budget is affordability, accountability, and alignment.
The city is calling it a "no-growth" proposal, which means plenty of cuts across the board.
A big talking point in the budget is in the police department, where 21 positions will be eliminated which makes the city council president Ben Stuckart nervous, saying that since he started he'd always heard that there wasn't enough police on the street.
With those positions vacant, Stuckart's next big concern is with retirement and jobs being eliminated. Stuckart believes that between the two there may soon be a need that will have to be left vacant. Stuckart is also concerned with the raises and possible cuts to the Fire department, including the closure of a Fire station that Stuckart believes will slow response times down for the South Hill. Stuckart believes that this measure will pass 4-3 but he couldn't vote for it right now with the way it's written.
Conservative city council members outnumber the seven person council with four seats as well as having a close relationship with Mayor Condon for the majority of his career. Conservative council member Mike Fagan said with the exception of the raises to the five executives, that government spending is out of control and that the public sector job growth is out-pacing the private sector, which he believes needs to turn around.
Once the budget is approved, with or without changes, it will be brought to Mayor Condon. Condon then has the power to either sign the budget into law or veto it. Mayor Condon also has line-item veto authority on the budget, which means he can take things out but can't add items back in.