The budget is actually discussed in three separate Council meetings (5/17, 6/14 and 6/21). In the 5/17 meeting I made it a point to note that Fremont’s budget decision process is not an inclusive process. The budget notes that there is a hierarchy where the community is on top, followed by the Council and then by staff. I noted that in my experience this is not actually how the budget is prepared in Fremont.
My frustration with the budget process has not only been that there is virtually no input from the public. I also feel as a Council member that I have little say in the budget process. That the budget is simply presented by staff, there is little discussion, and then the budget is approved. As an example, there was a budget surplus last year. Instead of staff presenting to Council what options we had to spend this on, staff just presented a list of what they felt it should be spent on. This was simply approved by the Council with little discussion. I’ve complained about this a couple of times with no success.