After removing salary increases for his cabinet members, mayor Andre Sayegh secured approval of his fiscal 2020 introduced budget.
Council members narrowly approved the $279.7 million introduced budget in a 5-4 vote last Wednesday.
Budget includes a 2-percent property tax increase.
Council members had delayed action on the measure over the salary increases for department directors and the controversial funding of legislative aides. A separate vote was taken to keep funding for four aides in the fiscal 2020 introduced budget.
Councilman Luis Velez asked whether the introduced budget still had big salary increases for the business administrator, law director, and economic development director.
Finance director Marge Cherone told the council the increases were taken out of the budget.
Council members Michael Jackson, Flavio Rivera, Luis Velez, Al Abdelaziz, and Maritza Davila voted in favor while Ruby Cotton, Shahin Khalique, William McKoy, and Lilisa Mimms voted against.
Some council members voted against the introduced budget because it included funding for aides.
“This budget reflects aides that corporation counsel gave clear guidance against,” said Mimms.
Velez, who vehemently opposed hiring aides, cast the decisive vote to approve the introduced budget.
“I have heard the cries from residents out there,” said Rivera. He said the budget this year contains funding to hire more police officers, more public works employees, equipment for public works, and police body cameras. “Everything the previous budget did not represent, this one represents.”
State officials sent a letter to municipal officials telling them the city’s introduced budget is three weeks overdue. A two-week extension was granted for transitional aid application, according to council members. The city is seeking $24.6 million state transitional aid. Last fiscal year, the city received $33 million in state aid.
Sayegh needed the approved introduced budget to apply for state aid. A final budget will be adopted after the city receives an award letter from the state.
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