Sausage and Politics
There's an old saying along the lines of "Never watch sausage or politics being made." Just enjoy the end result.
It's topical at this point, looking back on how the police union raise funding was settled. It was, unquestionably, a very messy process. But was the result tasty? It's a question on two levels: One is the basic decision of whether or not the city did the right thing. The other is the political result of the process.
Fundamentally, the result was a fiscally sound one. There's a segment who believe a salary freeze is in order, which would negate the premise, but the fact that Mylott engineered a raise makes that moot.
The council forced the mayor to dig up funding from other areas, and maintain some semblance of a free cash account. It might mathematical smoke and mirrors, but the funding formula in the end is more thoughtful and more conservative (?) and likely is better for the city budget this year in the long run.
(Just one quick note: State law allows snow and ice costs to be carried over to the next fiscal year almost always, which eases the pressure of paying those bills during nasty winters. It hasn't happened yet this year, but you know it's a comin'.)
The political product, however, is more complicated. The mayor-council relationship seems strained, but Council President Jody Joseph and the mayor showed they can work together to get things done. However, this was a month-long fight over, really, less than $100,000. What larger battles loom over the course of the year?
The council's new-found fiscal watchdog status is a good one for the city. It has forced the mayor to come up with somewhat creative and fiscally-sound funding ideas. It has added some more protection to the tax dollar. However, the relationship between the council and the mayor has changed. The two sides need to learn how to play well together, even if they are competiting with each other. It's a necessary byproduct if the city is going to get better.