City staff proposed a 2020 budget to Durango City Council last week (“Durango 2020 draft budget increases employee salary, library funding,” Oct. 3), publishing it an hour before the Tuesday evening council meeting. At 350 pages, it must represent hundreds of hours of staff work, at least some of it conducted under the direction of just-departed City Manager Ron LeBlanc; and it reflects the results of a study performed by consultants, hired by city staff, who found city staffers must be paid more to keep them happy – which explains at least part of the request for $2 million in new city spending.
Did you hear about the study performed by consultants hired by staffers that found the staffers were overpaid?
Neither did we – because such a thing has never happened, we are guessing.
The city may need to expand its workforce beyond the 166 positions the consultants analyzed, and increase pay and benefits; on this we are agnostic for the time being. But there is still the question of how high a priority this is in overall city spending. And priorities will differ.
It is Council’s job to mediate.
For example, we were initially thrilled to read that the new budget proposal would reopen the library on Sundays, extend hours on weekdays and add five more library staffers.
We love libraries, books, reading – you name it and we are there. But one man’s meat is another’s poison.
There are people who will find a library expansion superfluous compared with, say, hiring more police officers or even detailing them to schools.
This is what we mean by mediating.
Council will hold two daylong meetings this week to do just that with respect to the budget, when Mayor Melissa Youssef and Councilors Kim Baxter and Barbara Noseworthy, who together constitute a majority, indicated they would have questions.
Good. Ask lots of them.