Two vetoes proposed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist were quickly overruled by the City Council on Monday — a $6,500 cut to the mayor’s travel and education budget and a $3,000 cut to the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency.
It’s fair to ask why Sundqvist would need a bigger travel and education budget in his third year as mayor than a predecessor with 20 years in office. Two lines in the budget deal with arrears for travel and conferences and tuition, and the other two lines total $24,500. Compare that to the $11,056 former Mayor Sam Teresi spent on the same two line items in the city’s 2020 budget.
One reason is the city’s newly renewed membership in the National League of Cities, of which Sundquist was recently named a board member. It costs $3,508 a year in addition to travel expenses to major cities around the country for meetings and events. There’s a reason the city ended its relationship with the NLC — city officials decided at the time that the national organization wasn’t banging enough for the city’s money.
Compare National League of Cities membership costs to the travel and education budget of former Mayor Sam Teresi, who rose to head the New York Conference of Mayors, an organization with more expensive membership costs but less expensive travel to cities. State of New York.
Viewed in that historical light, the $6,500 reduction in the Assembly’s travel and education budget was justified, given the problems with Sundquist’s proposed executive budget, which created an unexpected $500,000 cut to balance the budget plan.
Likewise, a $3,000 cut in the city’s contract with the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency is far from a fatal blow to the city’s housing jobs, especially not a cut from the city’s contribution to JURA in 2022. Instead, the cut reduces the increase in the city’s contribution to JURA. And a $3,000 reduction in cold winter months housing the homeless who fear harm to the council’s work, in our view, given the fact that funding for homeless programs comes from state and federal sources, local tax dollars.
Both vetoes should, in our opinion, be overridden by the House.