Hyattsville Council Pushes Back Date of Budget Approval
The FY12 budget likely will be voted on by a new city council.
The Hyattsville City Council at an April 25 meeting decided to push back the city’s budget process for a week, citing a lack of information provided to them by city staff.
The budget calendar, which was revised on April 1, had approval of the budget tentatively planned for May 9. Approval is now scheduled for May 16, the day that new council members are sworn in after the city’s May 3 elections.
“I thought we would have more information now than we’ve gotten and I’m a little upset about it,” said Councilwoman Paula Perry (Ward 4).
Councilman Marc Tartaro (Ward 1), who is running for mayor this year, said this has been the normal practice since he’s been on the council.
Stookey and Rose thought they could get budget work done sooner, Tartaro said.
“It was an experiment on what could be done,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it failed. I’m optimistic about the next [budget] cycle.”
Tartaro said the city got started working on the budget a few weeks later than normal because Rose didn’t come on staff until partway through January. The budget process usually begins in early January.
“I think other municipalities do it in less time and I think we can do it in less time,” Tartaro said.
The city is on its third treasurer in three years.
There are some issues that the council still would like to deal with before they can pass the budget, including the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, Tartaro said.
“I don’t have a clear handle on what we’re going to do yet,” he said, adding that although he doesn’t have all the details, the level and quality of information he’s getting this year is better than in previous years.
The CIP includes a $5 million price tag for projects planned for next year.
“It has to come down,” Tartaro said, adding that the city normally budgets $1 million to $2 million in capital projects each year.
This coming year is different because of a number of projects on tap and some that weren’t done in previous years that must be done soon, he said.
The CIP likely will be presented to the council at its next meeting, on May 2, the night before the citywide elections.
Normally, candidates start attending council meetings in January to become familiar with the budget, Tartaro said. At a recent candidate’s forum non-incumbents stated that they have attended few meetings, but stated that they do watch some of them on TV.
When he was running for election the first time, Tartaro had to vote on the city’s budget just a few weeks after he won his Ward 1 seat.
“We need to tighten up our budget process,” he said. “In the future, yes, the budget should be passed before there’s a new council.”