My topic this week is about the state of the city’s budget.
I attended the finance committee meeting and listened to how bad things really are with the budget. Somehow, the city needs to chop $220,000 off the budget before claiming they have passed a balanced budget. The committee warned the city that they are never to present an unbalanced budget.
The Community Focus meetings talked about income tax and special fees that were never talked about at the commission table before springing it on the citizens through a focus meeting. Commissioners’ public conversations about moving City Hall have ceased for now. Could it be because there are union talks going on and the city doesn’t want to rock the boat on negotiations? Could it be that there are indicators that the citizens might be asked to raise the income tax or have special fees leveled on them so they can have money to move City Hall? Could the city utilize the restructured bond money to relocate City Hall? The city treasurer claims there is no money to move City Hall so the issue should be moot.
One city commissioner who started the talk about moving City Hall claims there is nothing going on in regards to moving City Hall. So why is the city obtaining estimates on repairs for the building, versus building a new structure? Why does the judge appear before the commission and plead for the city to make up their minds so he can get on with his court plans? Why does our consultant appear before the commissioners and practically condemn the building with his inspection report just stopping short of recommending a new building? Why does the county talk about moving City Hall into their building?
We all know cuts need to be made. We are aware that sacrifices will have to be made on the part of the residents. Like it or not, we need to be ready to accept those cuts. What I don’t want to see is the city playing us for fools in the meantime by coming up later and telling us they worked the numbers and all of a sudden they found money to move City Hall. Sacrifices should not be made just so City Hall can be moved.
The city needs to take a lesson off Perkins School. They made their decisions to cut the budget and presented the cuts to the public. It is time for the city to stop procrastinating and give us a definite direction as to the changes that will be taking place with the cuts and whether or not it includes moving City Hall. We need the leadership to step up to the plate and stop wasting what tax dollars we do have over the possibility of moving City Hall.
Until next week, it is insensitive and unconscionable to plead poor and then turn around and relocate City Hall. Deception creates distrust in government and quickly lowers employees’ morale when the city discovers money they say didn’t exist.