Members of the Bloomington City Council exchanged accusations Wednesday evening before passing the 2008 budget along party lines. Fifth district representative David Sabbagh, who is opposing current Mayor Mark Kruzan in the fall election, criticized his colleagues for “rubber stamping” the Mayor’s budget. He said the budget in the mayor’s office itself has increased 40 percent during Kruzan’s tenure, with little to show for the expenditure.
Those claims brought a swift response from district one representative Chris Sturbaum, who characterized Sabbagh’s claims “reprehensible.” At-large representative Andy Ruff challenged Sabbagh’s assertion that Democrats on the council simply approve whatever the mayor puts in front of them. He cited Kruzan’s reference to the council as “architects” of the annual budget. Council member David Rollo complimented the current administration for investments in infrastructure, the environment, affordable housing, and public safety, and said the city probably leads the state in its approach to animal welfare and recycling issues. Rollo also praised Kruzan’s fiscal prudence, saying the administration has helped to avert a financial crisis, rather than having caused one, as Sabbagh alleges.
The council ultimately approved the $56 million budget on a 7-2 vote, with Sabbagh and his Republican colleague Brad Wisler, voting “no.”