Rochester Mayor Vetoes Funding For Opening School Gyms to Public
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Rochester Mayor Kim Norton today exercised her veto power to strike down a recent decision by the Rochester City Council.
The Council, on a 5-1 vote with one member absent, approved a Counsel Initiated Action brought forward by 5th Ward Councilmember Shaun Palmer. It authorized the use of $50,000 from the city's contingency account to fund a 30-week pilot program to make Rochester School District gym space available for public use.
In announcing the veto, Mayor Norton indicated she supports the intent of the program to offer more opportunities for young people in the community, but she is concerned about using a Council Initiated Action to direct the expenditure of city funds without more discussion "and without weighing priorities as we make budget decisions we can lose our focus and credibility with the community."
Norton says spending contingency funds should be reserved for emergencies and city priorities. She contends her veto will provide "the additional time needed to work with community partners to determine need and evaluate space in the community that might be available with less cost and more partnership support." The mayor also says it's possible that taking the extra time to address the issue "will alleviate the need for City contingency fund usage, while still meeting the desired goals."