Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flint City Council Responsibility!



Just who is responsible for Flints Budget?

The Ward 9 Council person said at the last special council meeting that the council is not responsible for making mid term budget cuts that is the Mayors job.

The Ward nine council person then chastised the Flint Journal reporter present 3 times for saying effectively that the council was facing hard decisions with the projected budget short fall.

So just what is the council responsible for?

Now I do not want to offend the delicate sensitivities of a couple of council members.

But just who is responsible for making sure, on behalf of the taxpayers, that Flint has a balanced budget?

What accountability exists?

Whenever you hear the council say they are not responsible they mean they do not want to be accountable.

Flint is facing a budget shortfall, what is the councils role?

Lets avoid the head in the sand approach the council took in the Stanley Administration.

The mayor presides over the officials responsible for the day to day work of the city .

The Mayor is assisted by a City Administrator.

The Flint City Council is a legislative body.

It can introduce and pass legislation proposed by the Mayor.

The council has the authority and responsibility to audit the city books.

These two branches of municipal government are meant to be a check on each other.

Not to just point fingers but to cause accountability.

How can the council protect us. Not by pointing fingers and saying its not our fault.

The Flint City Charter 3-205 to 3-207 grants the City Council substantial powers of investigation.

The Council may ,as group or committee, look into the conduct of the City’s Executive branch.

This is an important check on the use of power by the Mayor.

The City Council is RESPONSIBLE for auditing the City financial records at least annually.3-404 to3-405 Flint City Charter. So who is responsible for the city budget.

The Mayor or the Council?

They both are. So if there is a projected budget shortfall the Flint City Council does have hard decisions to make.

The drafting of the budget is the Mayors responsibility.

This budget is presented to council on or before the first Monday in April for its examination and adoption before July 1st of every year.

Flint City Charter 7-104. A. At any time during the fiscal year, upon written request of the Mayor, the City Council may consider amendments to the previously adopted budget which (1) transfer an unencumbered appropriation balance from one program service or activity to another (2) provide for expenditure of revenues in excess of those in the budget or (3) meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace which may require emergency appropriations as provided by statute.”

The Mayor can always spend less than the budgeted amount.

The council may investigate him if he chooses not to reduce expenditures in the face of declining revenue.

Management of declining revenue then is the primary responsibility of the mayor and the council protecting the taxpayer may investigate and hold him accountable.

At all times the City must meet the solvency requirements of State Law.

So the council now does face tough choices.

Now that it has exercised its power to monitor city financing through its audit function and now has knowledge of a revenue short fall its role for us is to question the mayor on how solvency will be protected and to investigate and possibly hold hearings should he chose not to react.

It may be the mayors responsibility to spend the budget.

Its is the Flint City Councils responsibility to protect the taxpayers from insolvency.

The Flint City Council has some tough decisions to make.

Josh Freeman explains the audit.

Posted here by Terry Bankert

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