Friday, February 1, 2008

City Finances or lack thereof...

01/08 BY Terry Bankert
Posted first to Flint Talk
[also posted to Craigs list,Flint Citizen,Blog Good Morning Flint,Face Book, My Space, later to You Tube, AND mlive) Please distribute or post freely.)
Wednesday night members of Flint City Council received a mid-year review of the city budget, and the numbers do not look good. [WJRT013008]
This should be posted on line.[trb]
Just as the Budget information Council requested from the Mayor should be available on line. All City Council Meetings should be LIVE on TV17. Thank you State Senators and Representatives and Ms. Granhom for stopping that dead in it's tracks! This comes amid recent layoffs and already mounting concern about city finances. [WJRT013008]
The lay offs appear to be a responsible reaction to the revenue decline.[trb]
Exactly, But is this an understandable and reasonable assumption that the Administration could not have foreseen? or did they just make up their original budget numbers, or did they just plain overspend repaving streets because it was election year? Hey this is only January. Fiscal budget is July to July. We were told by several council members that more pink slips were issued to city workers Wednesday.[WJRT013008]
The administration would have told you the same thing I believe.[trb]
Actually I don't believe we would be in this mess right now. But, yes. Being handed a unbalanced budget they would do the same thing. And the auditor said these recent layoffs are a likely indication that budget issues do exist.[WJRT013008]
Who is the auditor? Is the report a public document?[trb]
That would be the City Council's Auditor. Hired by the City Council to review the budget. Since The Administration refuses to share information. The finding of a mid-year projection on the city of Flint's budget is that the city is $4.2 million short.[WJRT013008]
What is the annual budget? My recollection is that it is 60 million, this would then be over 5%.[trb]
Hmmm Good Point! 5 percent. Now, how about other areas? We still have six months to go. Who do we lay off next? During a meeting with an auditor, council members were briefed on the figures and given the lowdown on what the future may hold.[WJRT013008]
"If you add all the numbers up, we do end up in a deficit as of June 30, 2008," said Brian Ross.[WJRT013008] Who is Ross with?[trb]
C'Mon Terry. (ted) Ted I do this essentially as a 1st read, my comments are spontaneous and conversational. I have a sense of where the article is going but probably have not read it until I inflict my conversational responses.(trb)
The issue, some believe, is that city spending is outpacing revenue coming in.[WJRT013008]
Another way to state this that is Some believe the national depression the Bush administration has led us into is strangling business and increasing the number of unemployed Flint Citizens causing the loss in City of Flint Tax Revenue.[trb]
That may or may not be. Considering there has been a trend for the last 15 years of Flint Population declining and property values declining and those with money or the ability to move have! (ted)
I am not trying to deflect but the charter is clear it’s the City Councils responsibility to monitor and adjust the budget when revenue does not match projections, the mayor has a fiduciary responsibility but it is the city councils charter responsibility.(trb)
Did the Administration base this Budget, last year on projected increases in revenue or on the trend of declining revenue?(ted) Good question mabey Josh knows or anyone?(trb)
Most government agencies use the 10 percent rule. Request 10 percent more than you did last year. Whether you spent your budget or not. Different areas of Government go on spending sprees spending money like crazy just before their year ends. Just so they can say they need more the next year. Oops, How does Ted, a Lowly tire salesman know about this?? (ted)
Ted you as a store manager have just exposed that you know how to pad a budget when you submit it to corporate! What you describe is life as I remember it during my 11 yrs as a City Department head.(trb)
Councilman Jim Ananich says $9 million in emergency spending under Flint Mayor Don Williamson's administration is partly to blame.[WJRT013008]
Partly to blame may be the 7th Ward Council person who was fiancee chairperson, in the hot seat of responsibility, and he jumped ship to avoid the heat. Any critical comments from him would seem to lack sincerity.[trb]
Well, maybe, if he could have actually been held accountable for being able to change the Budget!(ted)
It was his job to raise heck, he did not have the kowoonees to step up to that responsibility.(trb)
See. The majority of council didn't approve the budget, but there wasn't enough to over ride the Mayor. So essentially this is the Mayor's budget. (ted)
It’s the City of Flint budget and the council cannot differ responsibility for budget monitoring.(trb)
Council can take responsibility for not having enough votes to override the Mayor's Budget. But not for this budget! (ted)
Lets see:” Flint City Charter 7-104 AMENDMENTS AFTER ADOPTION 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....2.provide for expenditures of revenue 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 council has the authority to cause an audit of the city books,( Your position is looking better ted-trb)
"Then you wonder about some of the departments that have overspent in a six-month period," said Council President Carolyn Simms.[WJRT013008]
The review of these issues is why we have a city council. They should dig in and let the community know what is happening to our City.[trb]
Isn't this exactly what they are doing. Only with a Strong Mayor form of Government. The Mayor can control exactly what they have access to. Meaning. They receive the infromation the Mayor gives them. Only that information.(ted)
The Council has plenty of authority to dig in. Part of the reason for the last receivership was this game playing and accountability skirting. There is plenty of blame to go around if we now know of a revenue short fall and we do not move quickly to plug expenditures. I would start with the ward accounts.(trb)
The Simple solution would be for the mayor to be more available and open to Council.(ted)
That is exactly what has happened with the appointment of Buchanan.(trb) Build trust with partnerships. Working together. But, this just isn't DON. He rules with Threat of Firing. Do as I say not as I do. Shake your hand in Public cut your knees off behind closed doors. So how does anyone work with such a management style. (ted) Match, go public build coalitions of knowledge, go to the community educate and advocate. Public policy 101, there will be a pop quiz following.(trb)
Simms says overspending in departments such as Building Code Enforcement -- where, just this week around a dozen pink slips were issued -- also shares the burden.[WJRT013008]
Another way to state this is that the Mayor has stepped in and stopped the overspending of a City Department.[trb]
The main expenditure of any department is Wages! So since wages are pretty much same from month to month, (unless there is excessive OT)? how do you not budget for 12 months and run out of money in 6 months? (ted) Ah..a question for Buchanan.(trb)
"These layoffs are just a Band-Aid, and you're hurting families and you're not going to the root of the problem," Ananich said.[WJRT013008]
Mr. Ananich will now position himself as our critical eye on the budget from a safe distance. He could have been our leader on financial issues, a role he has abandoned.[trb]
True to point. Who wants to be held accountable for something they cannot control? (Ted) He got himself elected and take the salary, its his job.(trb)
I sure don't. There were Four city Councilmen that kept the council from having enough power to over ride the mayor. I would rather blame them as a whole than name names. They as a Council Failed together! (ted)
Those few are now the many and have full control, lets see what they do with it.(trb)
There's also an issue of whether the administration violated the state's uniform budgeting act by spending money that has not been allocated.[WJRT013008]
The plan now is to get the state treasurer involved.[WJRT013008]
I think there is a conspiracy afoot. Mabey some feel that if you cannot get elected control you seize it. Will Walling be the new Kurtz?(trb) "Again, these are projections, but they're pretty sound," said Councilman Scott Kincaid. "The next area that will probably be affected will be police and fire, which this community cannot withstand cuts in police and fire."[WJRT013008]
There was also talk of putting a deficit-eliminating plan in place.[WJRT013008]
Although City Administrator Darryl Buchanan was not at the meeting, earlier this week he mentioned that the mayor has been working on a strategic reorganization plan.[WJRT013008]
Stay tuned I think this will get ugly. The last thing we need is State involvement in the affairs of the City of Flint.[trb]
I COuldn't agree more with that statement. (Ted)
Maybe the Don will finally decide to work with Council. (when pigs fly).(ted)
I would not stand under that flight pattern.(trb)
Or We will finally get a true account of what it takes to run a vehicle maintenance program from the Transportation Director (when hell freezes over) or Maybe, Our overmanned Police department will get a Police chief that is accountable to the People of Flint and The Don step aside and crime goes down, not just because they finally opened the City Jail (as we squeeze blood from a turnip). Or possibly we could get some real government reform and cut down number of mayoral Appointees and City Councilmen to better match other cities the size of Flint (when we can get milk from a Bull's tits). BUT I'm not holding my breath (as my faces turns purple).(ted)
Yee.... haaa ...a cowboy, farmer, urban reformist and plant sadist analogy in one paragraph, I am in awe.(trb)
Posted here by Terry Bankert
—where did this stuff come from— (ted) Ted Jankowski FLINTOID (trb) Terry Bankert FLINTOID (WJRT0113008) A WJRT TV 12 Web article previously linked. 34856

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