September 9, 2009 1:53 PM
The State Journal editorial cartoon on Sunday featured me slinging steaks off a grill. They were labeled "Central Library" and "Edgewater" and the caption read, "We thought with this economy we'd get wieners." My main objection to it was that it was a poor likeness of me. I wouldn't wear a suit to grill out and is my neck really that flabby?
Now that my proposed capital budget has been introduced we'll have a lot of healthy debate about the new Central Library and the Edgewater Hotel project. But it's important to keep in mind that my budget came in $2 million under the target that the Council and I established last year. I am proposing some ambitious projects, but I made cuts in other places to create room for them.
And, in fact, the Edgewater project is not really taxpayer supported borrowing since it is a tax incremental financing loan that will be paid back in five years. If you take that out of the equation then we actually came in $10 million under target. My point is that the overall environment for the capital budget isn't all that different then it is for the operating budget. When our resources are so tight, we cannot add without cutting back in other places, whether it's the capital or operating budget. That's exactly what my capital budget did - direct our limited resources toward projects that position us to take advantage of recovery.