The mayor's office pooh-poohs such talk. "We've faced gaps every year that the mayor's been in office and every year we've been able to close those gaps," says Kelly spokesman Carl Kuhl. "For the council to say, 'We want to take an extra 2 percent and hold on to it for 2007,' we think is irresponsible."
So, Kelly has vowed to veto any property tax increase greater than 3 percent. Given that it takes at least six City Council votes to override his veto, the prospects of that happening when the council votes to set the levy this week are extremely slight. This means that property taxes will increase by no more than 3 percent--and that Kelly's budget chicanery will be grudgingly accepted. "We're not going to have any choice but to accept it," concedes Lantry. "It is what it is."