Mayor Jerry Sanders signed into law today the budget for the next fiscal year after the council put its finishing touches on the spending plan Monday.

Sanders signed the document in Sherman Heights near a construction crew’s efforts to replace a sidewalk. The mayor said the public works project was emblematic of the budget for 2008, when the city will step up its funding for infrastructure repair.

Sanders had proposed more heavily investing in the city’s infrastructure and other big-ticket expenses, such as employee retirement costs, by cutting about 290 jobs. The council and mayor debated over the layoffs’ true impact on the levels of service the city provides, but the issue was not resolved during this budget season.

Sanders decided to veto one expenditure the council approved: Funding for the wintertime homeless shelter. The council had set aside $465,000 for the program at the last minute Monday evening, but Sanders said that the city should try to locate that money from the Housing Commission, Centre City Development Corp., or private donations instead of from the city’s operating budget. The money would be better suited by being tucked away in the city’s reserves, he said.

Councilwoman Toni Atkins, one of the five council members who voted for the shelter Monday, said she wouldn’t oppose the mayor’s veto. “I know the mayor’s commitment is there, and I’m fine with waiting,” she said.

The council is scheduled to consider funding for the shelter Sept. 11.


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