City Council continued its budget process this week, with a Monday work session about budget notes and a Tuesday night public hearing.
Monday’s meeting concerned 11 budget notes that were presented for council’s deliberation on whether to include them — and their price cost — in the next fiscal year’s budget.
Many of the items were projects that needed to be in the budget to continue, such as the invasive plant management project and the Tarboro Road streetscape project. Each had an assorted price tag as well; the invasive plant project is listed at $125,000.
Community Gardens and Youth Employment Program Put on Agenda
Councilor Gaylord had put an item permitting the use of city property for community gardens on the agenda. The project uses surplus city land for the gardens and the use is permitted through the unified development ordinance and envisioned in the comprehensive plan. Councilor Gaylord said they needed the right policies and procedures to protect the city and taxpayers.
Councilor Baldwin wanted to make sure that the process was done correct, citing riots in Philadelphia that had developed when the city tried to retract the property used for gardens.
“When we give it,” councilor Baldwin said, “we’re not getting it back.”
Councilor Weeks pushed for adding more employment spots in the summer youth employment program. The program, which places individuals as young as 15 in employment capacity for the city, lingers behind Durham significantly in the number of spots in allows. Councilor Weeks said he wanted 30 additional spots but had cut his request in half to 15.
Councilor Stephenson had a question about what kind of work the youth would be doing. An employee in parks, recreation, and cultural resources said that they would be junior counselors, assisting the other counselors with clean up and administrative work.
Public Hearing for Budget Features Local Organizations
The public hearing for the budget was a mix of those thanking the city for continued funding, those asking for funding, and a taxpayer organization that lectured the council on their budget decisions.
The Interfaith Food Shuttle brought a large contingent with them to the hearing, asking them to stand to show their thanks to city council for continued funding. The Interfaith Food Shuttle said that they fed 30,000 Raleigh citizens per month and helped 55 Raleigh agencies through their work.
The Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities had a representative talk about their early childhood intervention program. Because the program enabled parents to not have to quit their jobs to help with their kids and provided therapies of children, the center was hoping for additional money to hire a bilingual speech therapist to put more children on the track to success.
The Wake County Tax Payers Association used their time to criticize the councilors on decisions they had made for the budget, including the funding method for Dix Park. They said that the tax payers deserved to vote on this issue.
“This is ignoring the ‘hand that feeds you,’” one representative said.