THE CITY COUNCIL was supposed to vote on Mayor Tom Potter's proposed budget at their Wednesday morning meeting.
But the May 14 meeting may be a showdown, instead. Thanks to a few omissions in Potter's budget—namely funding for transportation and arts-related projects, and funds to implement a recent council mandate to move the Portland Development Commission's attorneys under the management of the city attorney—Commissioners Sam Adams and Randy Leonard broke out their own red pens, and made massive edits to the budget.
Their alternative proposal includes things like $2 million to augment a city transportation budget damaged by rising fuel costs, $200,000 to the Regional Arts and Culture Council for Arts Partners, and $80,000 for the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, which has been lobbying to restore funding that Potter cut.
It also contains a few snubs to Potter, like funding two of his programs—the Office of Youth Violence Prevention and the new Human Relations Commission—with one-time money that would be up for renewal next year.
And finally, the alternative budget has $200,000 in additional funding for a domestic violence center—Commissioner Dan Saltzman's baby—that Potter had already funded. That's because Saltzman's the swing vote in the budget standoff—Adams and Leonard need his support to pass their alternative proposal. If Saltzman sticks with Potter's original budget, the council is deadlocked at 2-2, with former Commissioner Erik Sten's seat still vacant. Ultimately, that means the budget process will likely be extended for several weeks, to accommodate further negotiation and wrangling.