Let the budget battles begin

"There's not much left on this eraser" reminds Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange during the 2012 budget discussions.

There's not a gun or a badge that can scare Strange away from a serious budget battle.  Case in point: the Public Safety Department.

The department's spending will increase 3% percent in 2012.  Here's how the numbers add up: the Montgomery Police Department will work with a $45 million dollar budget.  Communications or E-911 will have a $5.1 million dollar budget in 2012. As for the Fire Department's budget: $31.6 million dollars.  A department once slowed with retirements and outdated equipment, now making a turnaround.

Strange explains, "We've spent $3 million dollars on equipment, we were 30 short.  Now we've got about 24 in a class right now.  That will graduate about 18 or 17 fire fighters.  We're in better shape than we've been in a long time."

While the safety of the city is at stake - few survive these budget discussions unscathed.  The best idea Monday, adopting the term "level living", a tougher task than level funding.

"Whoo doogie.  That's really good, now how are you going to do it?" Strange questions.

While it's written in pencil, the PSD's 2012 budget adds up to more than $80 million, almost half of the city's spending.