Dan Langshaw FY 2021 North Royalton City Budget Public Comments December 15, 2020 before North Royalton City Council

(Full Text of Public Comments at Special North Royalton City Council Finance Committee Meeting)

Good evening members of City Council. As a taxpayer, community leader, and someone with about a decade of public service experience. I would like to raise some concerns I have with the proposed FY 2021 City Budget for North Royalton that I believe you all should consider as follows:

  • There is still too much uncertainty in the economy, even locally on the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At one of the Finance Committee Meetings the Finance Director stated that city may have a slight deficit. Will the Finance Director and or Mayor clarify this? Also will the Mayor and or Council go on record to vow to not raise income taxes in 2021 if there is further economic decline in the city revenues other than a renewal EMS levy that is up in 2021?
  • Costs continue to rise significantly with the Southwest Emergency Dispatch Center with $33K higher contractual costs for FY 2021. Will the city explore renegotiate this contractual service or alternative options?
  • Is it really necessary to spend $106K in FY 2021 for the City Master Plan and Recreation Plan? Given the recent legal precedent set by this Council with the City Charter Amendments, deadlines of the City Charter can be delayed. I strongly urge you to delay both plans for a year and focus funds on retaining and assisting struggling small business in our community.
  • Buckeye Institute lawsuit (Attached is an article about it) regarding withholding of municipal tax collection. I absolutely urge the city to file an Amicus Brief or better known as a “Friend of the Court Brief” in the Buckeye Institute’s lawsuit. Currently RITA is holding $400k of North Royalton taxpayer’s dollars of our residents who are working at home due to COVID-19. That’s our money and we need to do whatever it takes to get it back, which also this would directly impact the FY 2021 budget too.
  • There is nothing budgeted to improved audio and proper equipment for videoing council meetings. I urge council to budget such dollars for FY 2021 and create a new line item for IT to track such expenditures for the future too. In addition I once again request that this council take up the legislation I submitted to city council back on June 29, 2020 that would amend Chapter 212 Public Meetings, Section 212.03 Open Meetings Required Minutes of the Codified Ordinances of the City of North Royalton to require ALL city meetings, council meetings, boards, and commissions to be video recorded, live streamed on the internet, and archived on the city’s website to improve transparency and more open government. My request to add said legislation was not granted. (Attached is a copy)

In closing, please consider my concerns. I urge this Council to slow down. Per the City Charter I believe the budget has to be approved by the end of March. Pass a temporary budget now with emergency items that are needed such as Service Department snow plows, safety forces staffing, and etc. The rest can wait till end of January or early February when we should have a better idea of economic impact of COVID-19 and other relevant data to make an informed decision on the FY 2021 Budget. Thank you.