Matthew Petty today sent out an email accusing Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell and other members of the Fayetteville City Council of "political grandstanding" for insisting that Mayor Dan Coody present a balanced budget. "Insisting that the administration provide a balanced budget before budget talks even start is like putting a band-aid on a cancer sore," he said. Coody has repeatedly ignored the City Council Resolution asking for him to present a balanced budget, and Petty contends that Ferrell and others are "trying to micro-manage and limit our city's executive branch."
Coody submitted a budget of $35,919,400 for 2009, an increase of $896,400 over this year and representing a deficit of $535,000. Like Petty, he also accused Ferrell and others of "political grandstanding" for insisting that he submit a balanced budget for the city instead of spending the city's reserve funds to cover the cost of his increased budget. Even with the proposed deficit, Coody's budget does not include funds for expanding the hours of the Fayetteville Public Library, and for the third consecutive year it does not include cost of living raises for city employees.
Petty said he had "not talked with Mayor Coody about this issue, so I can only rely on the articles printed in the papers. That said, I'm not sure there is a difference" between his position and Coody's. He said issued his statement to "educate Ward 2 voters" and that it might help to resolve the current disagreement by convincing Council members that his approach is a better way than shirking their responsibility.
Mark Kinion, Past President of the Fayetteville Council of Neighborhoods, and Petty are candidates for Ward 2 Alderman to replace Nancy Allen, who has endorsed Kinion. They took different positions in the debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters, including their views on the budget. Petty, whose website says he is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo, a graduate of the Arkansas High School for Mathematics and Science, and founder of SocialSustenance.Org, said he had run volunteer organization with budgets around $10,000, and usually "the budgets were not balanced," so "to compensate, we seek additional funding or cut programs." That is somewhat the same approach suggested by Alderman Ferrell's resolution, but Petty and Coody are advocating a politically painless way to cover expenses when it is the taxpayers' money and an election year.