City Council members have some late summer reading

The first published edition of the classic “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy comes in at 1,225 pages. It is regarded around the world as one of the foundations of literature.

 

My copy of the NIV Study Bible, which resides on my office desk, has 1,949 pages, not including the index. Is there really a need to describe the impact of the Bible on the world?

Closer to home, I managed to find a copy of the 2015-2016 phone book for Amarillo/Canyon and the Texas Panhandle. (For those who do not know what a phone book is, it is generally yellow and has numbers in it. The numbers correspond to a person, and when these numbers are entered into a phone, there is a ringing on a phone that indicates a person wants to verbally talk.) The phone book has 436 pages, not including coupons.

The proposed 2017-2018 budget for City of Amarillo consists of 844 pages.

Personally, I’d rather read the phone book than read the city budget. However, there are five people whose responsibility it is the next few weeks to comb through these 844 pages of taxpayer spending.

Good luck, members of Amarillo City Council. You are going to need it.

The proposed 2017-2018 budget includes $518,985 for the Amarillo Police Department Canine Program.

The total Amarillo Civic Center complex budget is $3,767,291.

Total expenses for City of Amarillo golf courses are $3,581,359.

The city transit program has a proposed budget of $5,255,093.

And it is not as simple as just looking at the overall budgets for each department/program. These monies are broken down even further in the budget, which accounts for the 844 pages.

For the record, the proposed 2015-2016 city budget had 156 indexed sections. The 2014-2015 budget had 150 indexed sections.

Tuesday’s agenda for Amarillo City Council includes an agenda item for discussion and consideration of the proposed tax rate for the 2017/2018 budget. The city also held three days of budget reviews this past week, which were open to the public. And, tentatively, the council will hold its first public hearing on the budget and tax rate on Sept. 5.

Do I expect council members to read each and every page of the 844-page monstrosity? Well, to be honest, yes. I kind of do. The creation and adoption of a budget is the most important responsibility of a council member, because every dime the city spends the next two years or so is determined by this budget.

Happy reading, council members.

A pat on the back

To U.S. Sen. John McCain: Why is it I would take the Republican from Arizona in a fist-fight right now over just about any member of Congress, despite McCain’s injuries from being a POW in Vietnam and current battle against cancer? And I think I would win my wager.

A kick in the pants

To Amarillo motorists: Honestly, I did not see it as much as I predicted, but there were some Amarillo motorists driving across medians around the Interstate 40/Bell Street bridge areas. Unless you are driving an emergency vehicle, your trip is not any more important than anyone else’s, so stay on the road and off the medians.

AGN Media Director of Commentary Dave Henry can be reached by email at david.henry@amarillo.com.

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