Specifics on budget are needed

Mayor Stephanson has started scare tactics to raise taxes and fees so he can spend more, but he really wants to sell Walter E. Hall Golf Course so he can spend big time. The budget shows the golf courses paid for themselves since the 2010 budget. Let’s look at the past budgets: 2009 — $321 million; 2010 — $301 million; 2011 — $328 million; 2012 — $287 million for an average of $309 million; then 2013 — $341 million and 2014 — $342 million.

Look at the variations in budgets and the sudden increase in years 2013 and 2014 of $33 million each over the average $309 million for prior years?

The $33 million appears to have disappeared into the enterprise fund, as these funds increased by approximately $30 million 2013 and 2014. These funds are like reading a comic strip they vary so much from year to year. Within these funds is what they call “ending balance” money to be carried over to the next year. This cash reserve totals $25.3 million just for the enterprise funds. What is “inter-governmental services”? It varies from $12 million in 2012 to $80 million in 2014.

The special revenues fund has an ending cash balance of $13.8 million. This plus the $25.3 million in enterprise fund totals $39 million of excess dollars just in these two funds. They won’t balance the budget with it, so taxes and fees must be increased, swimming pool closed, golf course sold and so on. Why can’t the City Council get a handle on the budget and tell the people how and why these funds vary by the tens of millions?

We need a money manager not political scare tactics.

Dennis Finlayson


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