Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Like George Bush, Dan Coody has yet to submit a balanced budget for the City of Fayetteville. Eight years of fiscal irresponsibility is enough. This time, the mayor has willfully ignored a City Council resolution directing him to present a balanced budget for consideration, because Coody could not do it.

Alderman Bobby Ferrell, who has far more business experience than Coody, was the author of the Balanced Budget Resolution that was passed in August. He is quite serious that the city be run in a business-like manner, balancing income and expenses, with prudent management that avoids wasteful spending and multi-million dollar cost overruns that bust the budget. Coody, not so much.

Last month, Coody told the Council he didn't care what they said, he couldn't present a balanced budget. He presented a draft that was more than $535,000 in the hole and sucked up reserve funds to cover his red ink.

Last night, Coody told the City Council that they should start meeting on Saturdays to work on his proposed budget deficit. Alderman Ferrell said that Coody could call meetings until the cows came home, but he wasn't going to discuss the budget until the mayor demonstrated the ability to present a balanced budget as requested by the council.

Last year, Coody proposed raising property taxes without a vote of the people, but now he has changed his tune since this is an election year. "I’m not interested in raising taxes, laying people off, and the only option is going into reserves," Coody told Ferrell yesterday. Coody should have said that he was more interested in continuing to hire more out-of-state consultants, award no-bid contracts, cover his enormous travel expenses, stage multiple ribbon-cuttings for the sewer debacle, and sign contracts with certain developers with no idea of the infrastructure costs involved, while refusing to institute measures to cut out waste in his administrative departments and spend more wisely.

The mayor has abdicated his responsibility on the budget. Even the ever reliable Coody apologist Greg Harton should be able to see that this is more than "a failure to communicate." It is a failure of leadership.

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