Earlier this week, Rabbi Allan Freedman of Temple Beth Shalom, and Father Bill Waak of St. Ignatius Catholic Church reminded readers of the Austin American-Statesman that we are in budget season, and you can read their editorial on budget priorities at this link: AIOpedcitybudgetWackFreedman07.29.151.pdf
Thursday, City Manager Marc Ott released the staff proposed 2015-2016 budget which can be found here. Please select "Proposed Budget". This means that council members have had a copy of the proposed budget for only a few days. The budget does not generally reflect the priorities of Austin Interfaith. At this link you will find the final copy of the Austin Interfaith budget priorities which was created out of house meetings, individual meetings, and the citywide leaders meetings. The first draft of our priorities was approved at the June leaders meeting, and was refined in July until final adoption at the July Citywide Austin Interfaith leaders meeting which was attended by over 50 Austin Interfaith leaders representing 20+ of our member institutions.
At that meeting we committed to meet with each of the citywide council offices to educate council members about our budget priorities. In order to win on our budget priorities we need you to each take an active role.
We are asking for a City/Council Budget Meeting every week between now and when the budget is adopted in early September. These meetings will take place on Sunday afternoons from 2pm-3:30pm. These meetings will be to update one another on the changes in the budget, be aware of updates from our meetings with council, and make decisions about our priorities if we need to make adjustments and changes to meet the rapidly changing political realities that come with budget season.
If you have not worked on the city budget before, I promise you it is a fun experience, with a lot of fast learning about local government, and democracy. I encourage you to participate. Please RSVP if you plan to participate in any of these meetings, even if you cannot make all of them. If you believe we have missed inviting someone from your institution, please let me know so we can do so.
Wildflower Unitarian Universalist Church
Austin Interfaith Strategy Team