Looking Forward: Council Members on Budget Priorities

Council members look toward 2014 priorities

(Clockwise from top left) Lee Leffingwell, Sheryl Cole, Bill Spelman, Mike Martinez, Kathie Tovo, Laura Morrison, Chris Riley
(Clockwise from top left) Lee Leffingwell, Sheryl Cole, Bill Spelman, Mike Martinez, Kathie Tovo, Laura Morrison, Chris Riley (Photos by John Anderson & Jana Birchum)

"I'd like to hold property taxes as close to the current rate as possible – even a small decrease. I wouldn't be opposed to that; I'm not holding out for it. Austin taxpayers are facing a lot in the next few years." – Lee Leffingwell

"I'd like to see us have another election on affordable housing. We have to see, but I would hope that we would have to budget for that election this year." – Sheryl Cole

"My priority will be maintaining existing services. ... If we can do that within the existing tax rate, that is a great starting point. We may have to look for additional revenues just to cover cost drivers." – Mike Martinez

"I'm glad we're not doing any more adjustments in the [2013] budget – and I'm glad we're going to get involved early in the [2014] budget cycle, and not when the concrete has begun to set." – Bill Spelman

"Public safety is certainly important, but I'm hoping that we can find ways to keep the [public safety budget] growth from taking over the other needs – like parks and all of that – because we have to be investing in the other elements of the city." – Laura Morrison

"I'm going to be making sure that we're really strategic about how we fund youth services in our city. ... We need better coordination; we shouldn't be investing in public safety in an area at the same time we're cutting a program for teens ... which could work hand-in-hand with APD's goals." – Kathie Tovo

"We need to work hard to keep any property tax increase to a minimum. That has to be a major concern. At the same time, there are major needs out there. ... As the economy continues to come back, at some point we would hope there would be some relief from large property tax increases. I certainly share that hope." – Chris Riley

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