At the December Citycouncil meeting we were all told how the annual city financial auditwas again "perfect as usual."
However, next the council was presented an ordinance to "amend the 2018 City Budget" because virtually all departments had overspent their projected budget amounts. This ordinance had to be passed to "make all the numbers match."
My question is: How can an audit be "perfect" when nearly all departments spent more than was allocated?
Now the upcoming 2019 city budget is nearly 50 percent higher at more than 9 million dollars, the city debt is close to 19 million dollars and rising, year end bonuses for all city employees was about $26,000, and the first order of business for the new city councilmen at the January meeting? Refix the mayor's salary again after it was refixed prior to the election to a lower rate, ($30,000), in the event that he was not re-elected. It's legal, but very unethical. I hope council gives this careful thought about "re-re-fixing" again.
This item, as well as cost of living pay increases for all city employees which by my calculations if at the same percentages as in the past (4 percent), would be between $75,000 and $80,000 since there is no pay cap to my knowledge. It should be noted that a statewide salary survey was made last year, and at this point in time collectively, our city employees are currently paid 28 percent higher than 40 other cities surveyed per capita. This is not to undermine our employees, just stating documented facts, which are available from any councilman past and present as well as the press. It may interest you to see the individual differences, which vary widely.
Where is all this money coming from?
Our much-needed sewer system overhaul has not even begun and the borrowing debt continues to rise seemingly every month. Our Fire Department is floundering financially, many of our streets are in disrepair, our Police Department has its issues, and the first order of business for our new councilmen is to give more pay raises with money we don't have?
As a tax-paying citizen, I have to raise my hand and ask why and how does a city with such a small population, very few businesses, and very little promise of business growth in the near future, become so far in debt with no immediate plans to remedy this financial burden for we, the taxpayers?
Business as usual, and "the way it's always been" just won't cut it anymore if we expect our city to survive. Expect our taxes to rise very soon.
Attend these City Council meetings to let our city government be reminded they work for US and WE provide their paychecks. By the way, councilmen pay is actually 54 percent lower than state average. If anyone deserves a pay increase, it is they as well as our hard-working Planning Commission members.
Good luck Councilmen Cody and Matt, we're depending on you!
Bob Cottingham, City Councilman (retired)Editorial on 01/09/2019
Print Headline: Letter to the Editor