Chief Financial Officer Natwar M. Gandhi unveiled new revenue estimates Wednesday, projecting an additional $107 million in fiscal 2011 and more than $77 million in fiscal 2012.
But his announcement drew skepticism from a few council members, particularly council member David A. Catania (I-At Large), about whether revenue that will be generated through new laws and policies recently approved by the council were included.
The confusion led to shouting matches at a monthly breakfast attended by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and council members.
The arguments began with one between Catania and Gandhi as Catania said he must have “missed the asterisk” when Gandhi explained that he had to base the estimates on “current law.”
Gray played referee, asking that one person speak at a time.
Meanwhile, council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) was still questioning the council’s recent decision to pay $32 million to managed-care firms. Gandhi’s estimates show that the city could come up $6 million short in that payment, so city leaders will have to figure out how to make up the difference.
Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) offered to explain. Evans told him he wasn’t interested in hearing anything he had to say.
Barry and Catania went at it minutes later. “David, stop it,” Barry said.
“Marion, I’ll do as I please. You’re not the boss of me,” Catania said.
In the end, Gray asked Gandhi to clarify the estimates because he didn’t want to “leave the impression” that there will be much more revenue available. Gray said he believed earlier projections of revenue had been included in the budget that was recently approved.
“You’re absolutely right,” Gandhi said.
The contracts with managed-care organizations aren’t the only plans that will come up short under Gandhi’s new estimates.
The council had approved “contingent” spending, meaning if revenues came in, certain programs would be funded. Among the list of programs that will likely have to wait: a school nurse program; increasing the number of police officers; new books for the D.C. Public Library; a supplemental rent program; and improvements to the Lincoln Theater.
This post has been updated since it was first published.