Cairo's budget

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

The Cairo City Council and Mayor Paul Farris have been fighting a long-running war of attrition for control of the city. The council members have given Farris little of what he wants. They have refused to approve appointees. They've boycotted meetings. And for a time they refused to take out a loan to pay an overdue health-care bill.

Farris' response has been to refuse to sign council members' paychecks, to order police to check them for weapons as they enter the council chambers and to claim the right to veto whatever the council does.

Recently Farris proposed a $2.2 million budget with a $600,000 funding shortfall and gave the council the thankless job of cutting spending.

Last week the council approval a $2 million budget, which still leaves a $400,000 shortfall.

Farris did not sign off on the budget immediately, saying he needs time to review the document. But he said he would veto any line items in the budget he opposes. That made some members of the council furious.

Cairo's budget was supposed to have been approved by July 31. However, in each of the past three years the council has waited until November or December to pass a budget-appropriation ordinance.

This battle will continue. But given the current state of war, having two concrete proposals to argue over passes for progress in Cairo.

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