I am appalled by the irresponsible actions of the New Bedford City Council in preparing a budget for the city for the balance of the fiscal year that began on July 1.

Mayor Jon Mitchell told me budget cuts seem to make no sense. Funding for several unfilled positions was eliminated from the budget. Some of those positions impact building repairs and even snow plowing. Because a position is unfilled at the moment does not necessarily mean that it is unimportant and should not be filled.

The budget cuts approved by the council also eliminate local funding for such things as AHA! and the tourism department. Investments in both bring revenue to New Bedford and are quality of life considerations for city residents.

Mitchell said the council even eliminated the means for paying the city's electric bills.

What is most appalling to me is that two members of the council, Debora Coelho and Hugh Dunn, missed all six budget hearings. Dunn skipped one of two budget-cutting sessions while Coelho was AWOL for both. She didn't participate in the budget-cutting process, and neither of them participated in a vote to condemn the decommissioning of Engine 8, which will happen with the next few weeks.

Mitchell told me that several councilors don't bother to read the budget before voting to make cuts. He said some councilors do not research before proposing cuts to the various departments. He said maybe four out of the 11 councilors will contact his office with questions during the budget process.

These are the people who then proceed to set your tax rate to fund the budget once it is approved.

Mitchell said he is considering vetoing the budget, but due to time constraints for having a budget in place, a veto might not be possible. If there is not a budget in place, the state will come in and do it.

New Bedford voters need to take a good hard look at the people they elect to operate their city. This kind of governance is completely insane and should not be tolerated.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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