Monday, July 16, 2007

Why Karl Dean's Proposed "Contingency Space" Cuts to Fund Education Probably Will Not Work

Karl Dean's alternative funding answer to the Nashville Scene of cutting building space contingency funds (when they asked him about finding part of the $4.4 million cuts to public education that Metro Council passed) would actually cause increases in fees to other Metro Departments.

His idea is not original; Council Member Vivian Wilhoite proposed cutting $50,000 in building space contingency--which is the budgeted money that pays for the utilities and maintenance of empty Metro properties (like Downtown's Ben West Library building)--in her failed attempt to fund a local domestic violence non-profit program on June 26. When Ms. Wilhoite maintained that cutting the funds of empty buildings would hurt no one, the Metro Council lawyer advised her that decreasing the contingency funds would require that fees be levied against Metro Departments "across the board" (go to 7:25 on the tape counter) for the upkeep of the buildings.

So, it is clear that the cuts that Mr. Dean is suggesting would have to be offset with increases in other departments. The money to pay for contingencies would have to come from somewhere. Doesn't that fact basically nullify his option? Aren't we back at square one with the question: exactly what services would he cut to cover the $4.4 million from schools?

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