The City Council's split decision to raise property taxes just before the July 1 budget deadline leaves the city committed to expanding the police force but without all the money needed to do it. That's a gutsy move, made possible by a tie-breaking vote from Mayor John Stromberg.
Whether it was the best way forward won't be clear for a while. We have supported hiring five more police officers, and we continue to believe that is a necessary move.
We also favor a combination of utility fee increases and property taxes to pay the bill, because it spreads the burden across a wider cross-section of city residents. But the council's last-minute decision June 30 left more than half the $550,000 cost unfunded.
Some of the money could come from the city's share of state recreational marijuana taxes, but that amount won't be known until September. Some could come from increased utility fees, or from cuts elsewhere in the budget. Given the division on the council, cuts might be the most prudent solution.
Citizen members of the Budget Committee, who opposed the tax and fee increases, have criticized the council's move to override their concerns, calling it unprecedented. It may be a new departure, but there is nothing improper about it.
The City Council has the final say on city business, including budget and tax decisions. If city residents are unhappy about the budget, they can replace those councilors who voted for it the next time they are up for election.