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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano
City Council’s “summer break” is nearing an end, and we aren’t the only ones bracing for the upcoming city budget season. Yesterday, Mayor Steve Adler used the City Council Message Board to propose this year’s budget process, which, following a long tradition, will be slightly different than years past. According to that post: The proposed budget will come before City Council on Aug. 2, during a special meeting. At that time, the concept menu – which is a list of things that Council members wish to fund – will be up and running. Council members will be able to add to the (continually updated, online) concept menu, without a co-sponsor, up until Aug. 23. In a departure from previous years, department budgets will not be presented individually. Public hearings will be held on Aug. 17 and 31, with the final budget readings to take place Sept. 11-13. Adler’s proposal, which is not yet set in stone, also includes a new “fist-to-five” process, which he describes like this:
– Fist – a no vote – a way to move something off the list. ‘I need to talk more on the proposal and require changes for it to pass.’
– 1 Finger – ‘I still need to discuss certain issues and suggest changes that should be made.’
– 2 Fingers – ‘I am more comfortable with the proposal but would like to discuss some minor issues.’
– 3 Fingers – ‘I’m not in total agreement but feel comfortable to let this proposal pass without further discussion.’
– 4 Fingers – ‘I think it’s a good idea and will work for it.’
– 5 Fingers – ‘It’s a great idea and I will be one of the leaders in implementing it.’
— If anyone holds up fewer than three fingers, they should be given the opportunity to state their position or objections and the Council should discuss their concerns.
— The Council will continue the Fist-to-Five process until they achieve consensus (a minimum of three fingers or higher) or determine they must move on to the next budget concept proposal.
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