Voters on Tuesday defeated a plan to allow the mayor and City Council to spend less on patching pot holes and more on police and fire forces - making sure the city's general fund deficit remains at $7.8 million.
Council President Joe McNamara devised the plan - called the Safety First
Plan by supporters - to take $3.9 million from the city capital improvement plan budget, which pays for street and sidewalk projects, and instead designate it in the general fund for police and fire services.
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, one of the most vocal opponents, used capital improvement funds to pay general fund expenses to close deficits in 2008 and previous years. Yet this year he called Issue 1 a "hidden tax" and said it would leave no money for street reconstruction and repair through 2012.
Mr. McNamara last night defended the plan as common sense.
"While the Safety First supporters were unable to overcome Carty Finkbeiner's loud and well-funded misinformation campaign in this election, I still believe that this change in the allocation is needed to address the city's financial crisis and prevent large-scale police layoffs," Mr. McNamara said.