My buddy Jaime kind of hinted at what's going to happen with the budget process coming up HERE.
What's being laid out there is a smoke screen aimed at keeping your from the truth. Council members would like to make you think that the city budget is entirely built, approved and implemented by the city manager. None of that is true.
The city manager presents a budget to council. Council then makes their edits to the budget. Council is responsible for cutting dollars from and/or adding dollars to the budget. It is up to council to instruct the city manager to cut staff, add projects or amend the budget in a plethora of different ways. After the city manager has made all the edits they request, they then vote to approve the budget. After approval by council, the city manager has his budget to administer for the year.
The bottom line is that you tax have to go up - you voted for $500,000,000 in quality of life bonds. YOU voted to fund the out of control Vegas style party that is the fire pension. YOUR COUNCIL MEMBERS are responsible, along with you, for the higher taxes.
I beg you not to bring city staff into this argument. Council has the power to cut the budget - they alone have this power.
There's a reason we have elections and your pleasure, or displeasure, with council can be voiced at that time. Be ready and use your voice.