This year as was the case last year the departmental budget proposal before the city council will take place on the Warren Website. The council will post their questions per department and then each department via the city controller will respond in kind. If necessary council can ask follow up questions to the answers and the departments will respond again.
The Macomb County Circuit Court ruled that according to the city charter the council must first go through the Mayor in order to ask questions of the departments. Once they have communicated via the web, our departments will respond.
This process was changed last year after the Council Secretary indicated that the council no longer was interested in the Mayor’s annual budget presentation. The Controller and staff decided that changing the venue from the Community Center on Saturday to the web was far more transparent and the best way for more people to view at their leisure what were the concerns and responses to the proposed budget.
Despite the decision by the council not to hear my budget presentation I’m pleased that it will be a fair and objective hearing by the web rather than a politicization process in which individual members of council engage in disparaging commentary and threats aimed at department heads and city employees. This ensures civility and objectivity in the process. Administrators do not want to be harassed or embarrassed by council. It is ok to disagree about the budget but it is unacceptable to be disagreeable.
The web process eliminates the politicization of the budget process.
Below is an overview of what is contained in the 2023-2024 fiscal budget:
A balanced budget with no tax increase! The emphasis is on Public Safety and Service. Funding for our big initiatives will come from ARPA funds. Police, Fire, and Parks and Recreation will get the largest share of nearly $10 million in funding. We will also use ARPA funds for major capital improvement projects totaling $27.3 million. We will add 30 new positions with about 2/3 of the new positions for Police and Fire. Local roads will add the second largest number of jobs. ADA compliance capital improvements total $3,200,000 which is a major commitment. Plans also include building two new fire stations; new fire parking lot; new library; police drones, body worn camera equipment, new vehicles for the Warren Police; $3.75 million for watermain replacements. The largest capital outlay will be for the Warren Fire and Recreation Departments.