Residents should pay close attention to city budget plans

Anonymous
Feb 5, 2013

At one of the City Commission meetings, Ms. Ard wanted to set the record straight by announcing at the end of the year that she had balanced the budget.  Right after her announcement, one commissioner wanted to set the reporter straight by telling him that, not five, but seven commissioners passed a deficit budget at the beginning of the year.

I always thought the commissioners were required to pass a balanced budget at the beginning of the year and not at the end of the year. It is risky to give the citizens a false sense of security that the deficit can turn into a balanced budget at the end of the year. Maybe the budget will balance and maybe it won’t be able to balance out.

An explanation soon followed whether we should call the expected shortfall a deficit or a gap in funding.  It seems that the city was way too conservative with estimating the figures. The fact remains that the commissioners do not vote on passing a balanced budget at the end of the year. City Hall has a habit of twisting up the words to suit their justification of making things come out correctly.  

I don’t think the city can be too overly conservative with so much uncertainty in the economy. Most of the city’s revenue is based on income tax (46%); admissions tax (18%); property tax (11%); and Hotel/motel tax (8%).  As the economy declines, the first thing that is eliminated from the family budget is recreation so the revenues can get pretty unstable at times.

Next year’s budget doesn’t look any better but wait, the city thinks they can place a band aid on all of it by restructuring the bonds and taking on more debt. Some people have almost convinced the city to go further into debt by relocating City Hall and never mind that the taxpayer has to pick up the tab.  It is risky business for any bank to think the city can pull off restructuring the bonds by possibly using tourists dollars as collateral.

The city needs to pay off more debt and take care of some housekeeping items in town before placing anymore tax dollars at risk.  We need leadership to be responsible enough to just say no to debt spending and to hold the line on the budget.

Until next week, I hope the citizens will pay close attention in the next few months and not be taken in by the deception of word definitions.
 

Comments

The Bizness

We need some new manufacturing in this town

The Answer Person

And WHERE are they going to get the money to pay off that debt Sharon???

T. A. Schwanger

@ Answer Person

Any ideas on where the money should come from?

Trustafarian

Haha. Good one. There are no solutions here. Pick a side, post a comment, prepare insults and prepare to be entertained! If you get stuck just mention entitlements or guns or type VOTE NO!!! Best of luck Mr. Schwanger.

T. A. Schwanger

I've never known the Answer Person to have an answer.

Trustafarian

Feel free to use any of the following suggestions to answer any question you may have regarding any topic that can be commented on in this forum. Personally, I prefer to use the last number of the previous days Pick 3 drawing to choose my viewpoint. In the case that the last number is 0, I use the #10 answer.

1. Vote No!
2. Legalize it
3. Bust the unions
4. Tax the wealthy
5. Deregulate it
6. More police
7. Obama or Bush's fault
8. Moral decay
9. Asian carp
10. Asian country of your choice

luvblues2

Must be really great to be you and to be able to break down life into 10 simplistic forms. Good luck with your Saturday Night Live view of the world.

Trustafarian

Thank you for the encouraging words, and best of luck to you with whichever view of the world that you choose. Namaste.

luvblues2

Do not bow to me. I will not tolerate such sophistry.

Trustafarian

Please accept my sincerest apologies, it was never my intention to deceive you. My "namaste" to you was merely a gesture of gratitude and respect in return for your public approval of my way of viewing the world.

luvblues2

Not once did I "approve" of the way you view the world. Rather, I wished you luck with it. Methinks you watch too much TV.

Trustafarian

Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet fool?
The sweet and bitter fool
Will presently appear—
The one in motley here,
The other found out there.
-King Lear
Act 1, Scene 4

luvblues2

" Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Trustafarian

I see you have a library card as well.

Unabasho

I.Q. deficit
Keep smart people from leaving
Solve the right problem

KURTje

Great 1Trustafarian....great post!

Truth or Fiction

What do you expect people. We have a City Commission that through previous and current members usurped the authority of the executive branch (the City Manager). Please give me one example where leadership by committee worked! If you drive seven miles east you will find a city manager form of government that works. Huron doesn't have a lot of industry but its City Manager does know how to establish and work within a budget.

BW1's picture
BW1

Ahem, in a City Manager system, there IS no executive branch.

T. A. Schwanger

What Is the Head Executive of a City Government?

By Leighton Sawatzky, eHow Contributor

What Is the Head Executive of a City Government? Council-Manager Government

Under the council-manager style of local government, the mayor is the ceremonial head of the city council, though he does not have any more authority than other members of the council. His role as part of the board is to help establish town or city policy and determine a general vision for the city. Most of the administrative and executive authority under this form of government is held by the city manager, a professional hired to execute the goals set by the board. The manager answers to the council. Local authority is thus shared by the council and the manager, which provides the "council-manager" name for this style of government.

Under this arrangement, there may still be a mayor, but the mayor serves as the head of the legislative body rather than as the head of an executive branch.

.

Truth or Fiction

BW1. The City manager and staff act as the executive branch. Legislative is housed in the commission. Judicial is housed in the solicitor position and/or county judicial offices. T.A. is right. The "mayor" is simply the ceremonial head of the city as commission president.

Maybe a moyoral form of governement is needed in Sandusky. Commissioners would be council persons responsible for the issues concerning their wards. No more City wide responsibility. The mayor elected by the people could reign and implement his or her program over the four year tenure. If they performed well they could get another four years. No more second guessing by commissioners. No more looking over one's shoulder for the next flaming dart.

BW1's picture
BW1

They can't ACT as the executive BRANCH. Time to return to high school Civics class. The doctrine of Separation of Powers requires INDEPENDENT, CO-EQUAL BRANCHES. The president does not serve at the pleasure of the Congress. In a City Manager form of government, there is no executive branch, just a bureaucracy headed by the Manager, ALL of whom are subordinate employees of the Legislature. The Legislature can dismiss the Manager at any time, at will.

wiredmama222

AH, now tell me that this isn't what is being considered. This is like watching a television show being carefully scripted. First comes the initial PITCH. Then comes the possible alternatives. Next the explanations and finally the supplimations. My oh my. What a show that was. So gratious and enlightening, I must say.

What this city needs is more organization. The commissioners running should understand this in no longer a part time position but one of semi-full time. They will be paid accordingly. After election, need to have a more specific identity in which to work. They will receive $15,000 per year.

The mayor, having been also "elected" by popular vote for a period not to exceed 4 years, should assign each commissioner a job in which that commissioner shall work for his or her four year assignment. IE: parks, recreation, streets, fire, police, city management, finance, etc. No crossovers should be done. In other words, each commissioner should stick to his or her specific job and be ready to answer any questions about their department (including what is being spent within their dept) at any given time and stay out of the other departments. It is the Mayor's job to see that all department "heads" are doing their work accordingly and is managing the funds. He/she is also working with union officials, grant money, and any forms of problems that may come up. There is no longer a need for a city manager as the mayor has taken over that roll, however at a much lesser salary ($60,000 per year). Therefore saving the city a great deal of money.

The mayor does not have to do as much as the city manager did since much work has now been deligated to the council people as should be.

At each meeting held, it is the responibility of each commissioner to 'report" what is going on in each department to the people and to the Mayor. Any problems are dealt with immediately.

This way, the commissioners know what is going on, the Mayor knows what is going on and so do the people of the City.

You are cutting out a great deal of expense, a great deal of hassle and a lot of confusion when things get run correctly.

In case of a tie on any vote, the mayor has the deciding vote.

That way no one is confused about what job is what.

BW1's picture
BW1

This concept turns the City Manager system AND Separation of Powers on their heads by making the legislature subordinate to the Executive branch - something commonly known as a dictatorship or monarchy. It is even WORSE than a City Manager scheme.

The Founders of this country had good reasons for the Separation of Powers. We would do well to deepen our appreciation for those reasons.

T. A. Schwanger

Greetings Wired::

Make sure you go back to the Safe Routes to Schools article. I answered your questions regarding the game of Go Fish.

wiredmama222

I am not playing a game of go fish. If you are, you must be playing alone. I see that my "opinions" are pretty much right on given your reaction to the news of the day. You seemed relatively blindsided by it.

Oh, well, what about this article. Can you not answer this? I would prefer you stick to the subjects at hand and not go "crisscrossing" one to the other. That really is inapproperiate given that you are to stick to the subject being discussed.

This was to be about the system of our government. Not bike paths. Remember?

So what do you think about the system I have outlined? Would you be comfortable with that? If not, why? You want a STRONG mayorial set up do you not? Do you still want to have a strong city manager as well? If you want a strong elected Mayor, what purpose would there be to have a city manager?

If you want a strong elected city manager, what reason would you have for have a strong mayor's office?

Please explain your answers. Thank you so much.

T. A. Schwanger

Actually I figured you were blindsided based on your previous comments "there have been no discussions on relocating City Hall".

I don't know Wired you do indeed have me confused. Time and time again you have defended the City Manager and the current form of government on this web-site yet you propose a new system?

As far as my refering back to another article, I was pointing out I had answered your questions in response to your demands.

wiredmama222

You and your friends seem absolutely convinced that the system needs to be changed. I am asking you simple questions. Why can't you answer them on here. Why do you need to go back to the other site to answer them. This site is where you need to answer these questions, so please do. Now please answer what I am asking you. It has NOTHING to do with what MY feelings are about the City Manager. Just answer the questions, please. Why are you having such a difficult time answering such simple questions?

T. A. Schwanger

Actually, this article is about the City budget not forms of government.

Much of what you discribe is supposed to be done under the current system. If you go to the City's web-page, you will note under the "City Commission Link", each commissioner is assigned to a specific Board(s) or
Committee(s).

Now, if you want to head-up a campaign to change the form of Government to a Mayor/Ward form, go for it.

Go fish.

wiredmama222

I see, again when asked a specific question you fail to answer it. I find that very frightful. It is especially upsetting when you tell me that you intend to run for city commission when you retire. I suspect that isn't too far away. Better be ready to answer may a question on your feet then. You won't have weeks to answer then NOR will someone take this kind of answer as sufficient. They will want a answer they can understand right now. Not a "referall piece".

Let me remind you, I am not the one who got us off the "budget discussion" in the first place, now am it? Read back. You did, in answer to BW1's comment. So do not blame me.