Councilman Christopher Burns was clear that he appreciates the work of the city’s Public Safety Department.
But the proposed hiring of more officers—without sufficient time to study police response times following recent additions to the department—was one of the reasons he voted “no” Wednesday on the 2014 preliminary budget and levy.
The Woodbury City Council passed the item 4-1; Burns was the lone dissenting vote. He has never voted in favor of a city budget.
Woodbury’s preliminary levy was set at a 2.76 percent increase, which would be the fourth lowest bump in the past 20 years, City Administrator Clint Gridley said. If eventually passed, the figure would represent a $6 increase on the average value home.
The city is in very good shape, Gridley said. See the PDF with this post for details.
Woodbury is generally good about using quantitative analysis and measurements when making decisions, Burns said. He would have liked to see more examination of how the police department has done with the recent hires before opting for more cops.
Burns also noted that the proposed hiring of two new officers would also necessitate another squad car for the department.
“Those cars aren’t cheap to outfit,” he said.
Burns said other proposed 2014 hires also led to his “no” vote, and while he lauded staff for their work, added that perhaps more could have been done to reduce the levy.
“Maybe if we sharpened our pencils a bit we might find some other things,” he said, pointing to the city’s reserves as one possibility.
As for the preliminary levy figure, “I would have been fine with zero,” he said.
After Wednesday night’s passage of the preliminary figure, the levy can only be reduced. A Truth in Taxation meeting is set for Dec. 11.
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