D.C. Council gets testy over how to spend $23m windfall

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Photo - D.C. Councilman David Catania (Examiner file photo)
D.C. Councilman David Catania (Examiner file photo)
Local,DC,Liz Farmer

D.C. Council members grew increasingly agitated at a Thursday morning breakfast meeting over a $23 million spending proposal from Mayor Vincent Gray that they saidcame to them at the last minute.

The money was identified by agencies in recent weeks as unspent budgeted funds. Gray's spending plan includes money for public and charter schools, and the council must approve it by Thursday or city law says the money must be automatically deposited into the city's general fund.

The urgency of the proposal caused some members to lash out at Gray's aides in the meeting.

"You should have brought it to us last week instead of putting a gun to our head," at-large Councilman David Catania snapped to the mayor's budget director.

Last month, the council was similarly irked when it was told about a$140 million budget surplus that they could not spend because it automatically went to the general fund.

Others on Thursday pointed out that the council shouldn't deny the extra funding just because of politics.

"So because we're annoyed about how this came to us... we're foregoing opportunity to finance these others items," Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh mused.

The council is scheduled to vote on the mayor's funding request during its legislative session later in the afternoon.

lfarmer@washingtonexaminer.com

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Liz Farmer

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner