Mayor discusses draft of proposed budget with council members

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – There was a surprise announcement about next year’s budget at Tuesday morning’s Mobile City Council meeting.

Members of the Stimpson administration said the mayor began discussing a draft of the budget with city council members Tuesday. One thing council members aren’t revealing, however, is how much of a raise for city employees is included in that budget.

“COMMUNICATING CONFIDENTIALLY”

Mayor Sandy Stimpson addressed the Mobile City Council meeting Tuesday, but left before it ended.

After the meeting, Chief of Staff Colby Cooper had a surprise announcement for reporters about the status of the proposed budget for next year.

Cooper said, “We’re communicating confidentially with the city council, running our draft by them, entertaining any questions they have.”

BUDGET INCLUDES PAY RAISES

Cooper re-iterated that the mayor has committed pay raises would be part of this budget.

When asked if we knew how much, Cooper said, “The mayor does.”

The budget is due to the city council next Wednesday, but administration officials had indicated in the past they hoped to officially present the budget to the council before then.

Now?

Cooper said, “There was indication. We revamped that indication to say it was more important right now to go confidentially and discuss this with the city council.”

By lunchtime, Cooper said the mayor had talked to four council members about the budget and hoped to talk to most by the end of the day.

WILLIAMS SEES PROPOSAL

Council Member John Williams confirmed he was one of the council members the mayor talked to.

When asked about the figure on raises, Williams said, “I’m not going to share a single thought of anything that is in that preliminary budget.”

As for Williams thoughts on what he saw, he said, “This is a product that can be justified line by line and dollar by dollar.”

HOW MUCH FOR NON-PROFIT GROUPS?

Cooper was also asked about the amount of money proposed for non-profit groups in the budget.

He said, “We’ve looked very hard, not only at their programmatic impact, but, we’re also looking at their financial situations.”

Are there big changes in the amounts from last year?

Cooper said, “Some will say there are major changes, others will say that there are not.”

Cooper said the mayor will introduce the budget publicly after he communicates with all council members and with Council Member Fred Richardson out of town, he said that could be later in the week.

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