Councilman Carlino: City Council must play bigger budgeting role
The way our public infrastructure is built, our public lands are managed, and our emergency response teams operate is all intrinsically connected to the City of Missoula’s budget.
Each year the mayor introduces the city’s budget, and then the City Council, as the policy making body, is meant to deliberate and make amendments to this budget to help ensure that our public funds truly represent our community's priorities.
However, for years the City Council as a whole has given up on amending the mayor’s budgets. The current budget for the city is built off budgeting decisions that were made years ago and decades ago.
Budgeting priorities from the past have continued to be funded year in and year out with very little discretion from the City Council each year. The City Council must get off of cruise control when it comes to deciding how our taxes should be spent. The rubber stamp of complacency is ensuring that we will have unprecedented tax increases and is crushing opportunities to fund our communities’ priorities.
In my first two years on city council, I was proud to get to represent Missoulians by getting the most city budget amendments passed. However, I know we need many more budget amendments to truly do our job as City Council. Want to lower taxes, make a budget amendment. Want to fund a city program that is going unfunded, make a budget amendment.
We must not only fix our tax system by taxing tourists and the billionaires, but we must have a City Council that's willing to do the job as the political making body to make budget amendments and deliberate on the mayor's budgets each and every year thoroughly.
The City Council must dig deep into the city budget to figure out what we should keep, what we should cut, and how to best fund our current city priorities.
Daniel Carlino represents Ward 3 on the Missoula City Council.