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Thursday July 24, 2014
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Council's New Majority

 

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With the addition of Eaton, the new majority wasted no time exercising its power: in November, the mayor acquiesced to Kunselman's proposed cap on the Downtown Development Authority's tax revenue (see "Curbing the DDA"). Though the limit won't take effect until 2016, over the long run it should free up some money to achieve a goal widely shared in the new majority: reversing some of the Hieftje-era staff cuts. Eaton, for example, says he "supports increasing firefighter staffing to achieve nationally accepted fire response times" and "increased police staffing to allow for proactive community policing."

To pay for the added staff, Eaton says he favors "budgeting by objective, spending money first on the top priority. This year there was an increase in property tax revenue, and I would have taken a fair portion of the extra money to public safety." If that and the new revenue diverted from the DDA isn't enough, he supports Lumm's 2012 proposal to lay off probation officers to hire cops, "or if not from there, then we could look to the IT department or the city attorney's office."

As councilmembers negotiate the new balance of power, a complicating factor is that several also are jockeying for Hieftje's job. Kunselman has declared his candidacy, and Petersen, Third Ward rep Christopher Taylor, and First Ward rep Sabra Briere have all said they're considering running.

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