Possible change in budget course for Mayor Jeff Scrima
City of Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima may be changing course on the 2012 city budget since it became clear that he would not be able to get his garbage fee included. Waukesha Patch Editor Sarah Millard said earlier this evening on Facebook that Scrima would drop the request for the garbage fee and would instead pursue concessions from the city employees to balance the city’s budget.
At the time the Finance Committee dumped the garbage fee, I wrote,
As I’ve said before, in a city with three leaf collections, a city-owned cemetery and a redundant 911 call center, there’s some room to maneuver in the budget. It’s also worth mentioning that labor costs are actually higher this year than next year because of the long-term contract preventing the city from taking advantage from the changes in the collective bargaining law for city employees. Plus this may give acting City Administrator Steve Crandell the leverage he needs to re-open the contracts if the city employees are facing layoffs.
Let’s note that the mayor will not be able to dodge responsibility for this one. He fully embraced the garbage fee, even conducting a marathon presentation in an attempt to save it at tonight’s finance committee meeting. Interestingly, his defense underscored the criticism of the garbage fee I made in Thursday’s Waukesha Freeman column. By presenting every widow and orphan in the city budget that would be affected if the garbage fee is not implemented, Scrima demonstrated for the council and the public that the garbage fee had nothing to do with the collection of garbage. The garbage fee was just a clever way of raising government revenue while trying to claim he is not raising taxes. That approach failed miserably.
We’ll see if Scrima is really interested in trying to force concessions from the city employees, or if that’s just cover to try to bring back the garbage fee, or if he’s just saying something again just to have something to say.