City budget tension rising in Manchester
The tensions erupted at Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, after Alderman-at-Large Dan O’Neil presented a list of questions to Mayor Ted Gatsas concerning what would happen if the budget he presented earlier in the year, which contains a $6 million shortfall, was to become the default budget.
Had the aldermen been more receptive to new revenue ideas, in particular a pay-as-you-throw system of trash collection, there might have been a way, he said. “I think the aldermen need to start looking at these for next year,” he said.
He said much of the discussion on the budget on Tuesday was “destructive” rather than “constructive.”
He noted that, if the aldermen did not agree on a revised budget, Gatsas’ original plan, with the $6 million shortfall, would become the default budget. The city’s finance director has since raised his estimate of the budget hole to $7.5 million.
Alderman-at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur said it wasn’t politics to ask hard questions of the mayor.
A tax cap override must be approved by 10 of the 14 aldermen. The aldermen must also determine the margin by which a proposed budget exceeds the tax cap.
Ward 7 Alderman William Shea, who is regarded as the dean of the board, urged his colleagues to work together. “I hate the blame game,” he said, “I’m not sure how we’re going to keep working together if we keep throwing bombs at each other.”
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