Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said Tuesday he won't sign a $21.1 million budget for 2013 that City Council adopted Thursday, along with a 1-mill tax hike on real estate.
"My budget proposal was sufficient as I addressed the issue of personnel legacy costs by not filling five city positions and by minimizing a tax increase as much as possible," Campana said in a statement he released Tuesday afternoon.
"I respect City Council," Campana said. "However philosophically I do not agree with City Council's 2013 budget position and will not sign the 1-mill tax increase."
The 1-mill hike raises taxes by $100 more per year on a household with an assessed value of $100,000. The adopted budget ordinance reduces the police force by three officers, eliminates one employee from the Streets and Parks Department and provides funding for a full-time information technology position.
"No ordinance shall take effect without the mayor's approval unless the mayor fails to return it within 10 days, or council votes to override a veto," said city solicitor Norman Lubin, explaining the legal provision in the third-class city charter.
The budget can sit without the mayor's signature until Sunday, the end of the 10-day period, and then it automatically will become effective Jan. 1, according to Lubin.
Campana said council's decision to add a Department of Streets and Parks employee and budgeting a full-time information technologist added more than $90,000 to the budget.
"Council has decided to add more employees to my budget," he said. "I have spoken to multiple computer service related companies and, as administrator of City Hall, I believe we can provide sufficient information technology service and save dollars through contracting services instead of taking on another full-time employee."
Last year, Campana took a different course when he vetoed the budget, and council then overrode his veto.
At the time, Campana said he wanted to eliminate two city firefighter positions.
This year, Campana proposed a tax increase of 0.85-mills.
"I believe the 1 mill is excessive for our citizens and is not necessary," he said.
Campana's non-signature of the budget invoked a response from council President Bill Hall.
"The mayor has the right to sign or not sign or veto the budget and he chose not to sign it," Hall said. "That is his prerogative. We have a budget that will be in good standing 10 days after the ordinance was passed.
"We cut into the meat of the budget and got it to 1 mill," Hall said, adding that it could have been 3 or 4 mills.
Hall said if Campana wanted to outsource the information technology job, he had an opportunity to suggest that to council during the budget meetings.