ELECTION 2021: Saline City Council Candidates on a Balooning Budget

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Voters in the City of Saline will elect three citizens to Saline City Council in Tuesday's election. The candidates are incumbents Jim Dell'Orco, Jack Ceo and Kevin Camero-Sulak, and Brian Cassise.

Kevin Camero-Sulak chose not to answer our questions.

(More questions and answers here)

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QUESTION: General fund spending has increased from $8M in 15-16, to $10.6M this year. That's 32 percent in 5 years. Is this just the city right-sizing spending to costs? Do see spending continuing to grow at this rate? Or can this be reined in? Tell us what you think about city spending.

Jack Ceo: The electorate expects City government to grow to meet the growing challenges that are placed on government. As long as this growth is able to be met without a corresponding exorbitant growth in the amount of taxation imposed, it is “right-sizing spending to costs”. We have an excellent staff, as indicated above, that is able to bring us a balanced budget year after year without increasing property taxes. The budget will normally grow as we continue to have new building and development to contribute to our tax base. This growth in the tax base demands a corresponding growth in the size and complexity of the government. We are also addressing some long delayed improvements to our infrastructure to keep pace with the services expected of government. I feel that this growth in the budget is a natural result of the growth and improvement of city services to those we serve. As the city grows, so must the budget.

    Jim Dell’Orco:  I truly feel that the budget spending that I’ve overseen in my time on council has been necessary and essential to maintaining our city’s assets through our capital improvement plan and to provide the quality of services that our residents deserve. I do see spending levels increasing slightly over the next two budgeting cycles as we seek to address aging infrastructure issues and legacy costs of pensions for employees approaching retirement age. However, there is naturally an ebb and flow to spending when it comes to the general fund and if history is any indication, that cycle should continue.

    Brian Cassise: Spending should be reined in. I’ve visited the city’s website and reviewed the projected budget. Without more detail, it’s difficult to quickly identify areas of waste or excess spending. As a city, we must live within our means. Council should spend the money as if it was our own. I'm very fiscally responsible and would contribute my frugality as a council man.

    Kevin Camero-Sulak: Did not answer.

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