Mayor to Use Line-Item Veto to Balance Council Budget

Mayor Lee Brand today made the following statement about his intention to veto the FY2020 budget approved by the Fresno City Council:

“The City Council is voting tomorrow on a Fiscal Year 2020 budget that is proposing to spend $1.16 million more that the City has in available revenue to spend.  This comes seven months after voters overwhelmingly amended the City Charter to require a balanced budget.  I sent the Council a letter this afternoon stating that I will use the budget line-item veto power granted to the Mayor in the City Charter to balance this budget.

“My entire career has been focused on establishing and maintaining fiscal responsibility when spending taxpayer money.  The budget I approve will be balanced so that expenditures do not exceed revenues and I may have to use the Mayor’s line-item veto authority to get there.

“A balanced budget is of paramount importance, but so is maintaining the integrity of the reserve, which is vital in the event of an economic downturn – a real possibility in the near future.  I do not support any attempt by the Council to reduce or eliminate the Emergency Reserve, which also became part of the City Charter because of a ballot I co-sponsored in November 2012.  In addition to the Charter, there are other resolutions, ordinances and policies which require the City to maintain a 10% Reserve in order to continue providing top quality services to our residents in times of economic distress, such as what occurred just a few short years ago.

“I believe the Council and I agree on about 99.7% of what is contained in the City Budget and I think it is a healthy sign for our democracy that we can have robust and spirited public and private conversations on the few things in the 0.3% where we don’t agree.  I have made it abundantly clear to the Council and the people of Fresno that my approach has always been to deal with budget issues in a fair, reasonable, and consistent manner, and I will continue to work diligently and collaboratively to improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Fresno home.”