Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Account Overdrafts, Obstructed Access Top Story on WMDT

Council members Debbie Campbell and Terry Cohen were featured tonight on WMDT Channel 47's 6 p.m. newscast. They addressed issues re: the still-unresolved deficits in city financial accounts, most notably the $45,000 over expenditure in insurance accounts. Neither transfer approvals by the mayor nor budget amendment approvals were obtained from the city council prior to cutting the insurance payment checks.

While the city administration has maintained that these appropriations are not specified in the budget ordinance and that the budget ordinance determines appropriations, Campbell and Cohen referenced numerous sections of the charter, state law, portions of the budget ordinance, quarterly reports, and the approved budget book to demonstrate why the budget ordinance does not excuse the administration for over expending accounts.

The report sought by but denied to Campbell and mentioned in the WMDT newscast is the expense portion of the "Next Year/Current Year Budget Analysis" which is provided to the council at budget time. The revenue portion of the report had already been provided to the council. While the report contains three columns of information relative to the budget, for which planning is still in progress, the bulk of the report is comparisons of current and previous year expenditures against budgeted amounts.

Unlike the report actually received, this report reflects a data dump directly from the city's financial system, thereby ensuring no modifications that might yield inaccuracies. Both Campbell and Cohen suggested to the city administrator that the "in-progress columns" could be caveatted by a simple cover memo or physically cut off the report requested if the administration felt so strongly about it being in the hands of council members.

For the written report of the WMDT newscast, go to:
City Council Talks Budget Concerns

A second segment of the story will air Thursday night on the 6 p.m. newscast.