The City Council chambers at City Hall were filled with grief on Tuesday. Before the Council would conduct its business for the day -- approving an $82.1 billion budget for the city’s 2017 fiscal year -- members first paid their respects to the 49 people killed by a terrorist who shot patrons at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday. One by one, Council members read out the names of victims and placed small electric candles on the dais at the front of the chamber. Almost every Council member expressed solidarity with the LGBT community by placing a small rainbow flag on their desks.
The somber mood soon turned celebratory, though, with the earliest adoption of the city’s budget in 15 years. Following months of hearings and negotiations, after funding for a number of Council priorities was added to the mayor’s final proposal, and amid concerns of a widely expected economic slowdown and potentially insufficient savings, the Council approved a plan that increases city spending by about $3.6 billion over last year’s adopted budget. The new fiscal year begins July 1.