When I asked at the last Council meeting if the Village would be providing residents any kind of draft version of next year's budget to work from at this Budget Workshop I was told that they wouldn't.
So, I suggested that instead of a workshop, they ought to call it a Budget Chit Chat, because it's evident that unlike the residents, Tom Benton long ago learned that the first rule of government - or any other bureaucracy for that matter is - "He who controls the paperwork, controls the game."
So, while I've not had an opportunity to focus in on the budget like I would have, I would like to point out to the residents a rather glaring problem with the management of the Village that can be found in the Budget Line Item called: CULTURE AND RECREATION.
It seems that the CULTURE AND RECREATION line item in 2014-2015 showed that there was $1,482,673.00 in REVENUE, and $2,730,301.00 in EXPENSES, for a DEFICIT of $1,249,178.00.
Now, there could be any number of reasons why a specific line item in the Village budget might show a 1 year deficit, but, it happened again in the 2015-2016 budget, where the REVENUE was $1,487,156.00, and the EXPENSES were $2,926,057.00, for a DEFICIT OF $1,438,901.00.
Instead of decreasing, the DEFICIT ACTUALLY INCREASED BY $189,723.00.
Here are copies of the line item breakout for both years.
THE VILLAGE BY THE BAY
IF GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH LOOKED AT THE VILLAGE BUDGET, WOULD HE CALL IT AN EXAMPE OF VOODOO ECONOMICS? ONE WAY TO FIND OUT IS TO GO TO TOMORROW'S VILLAGE BUDGET WORKSHOP
MARCH 29, 2017
A CRESPOGRAM SPECIAL SERIES
Now, I got distracted and didn't follow up by asking for the information on earlier years, but I suspect that if I had, I would have found similar deficits in those years.
One year is an anomaly, but two years represents a pattern, and that pattern reflects a failure by the Village administration prepare a budget that reflects real numbers, at least when it comes to this particular line item.
This is a very serious problem, and it needs to be addressed and discussed at this Budget Chit Chat.
THE OFFICE OF THE VILLAGE CLERK
I've previously written about this office and the intent expressed by Tom benton that he wants the next Village Clerk to also serve as his Executive Assistant/Secretary.
This should not be allowed to happen, and the place to address it is in the budget.
The Village Clerk is a Charter Officer. If you look at the Village Table of Organization, you will see that the Village Clerk and the Village Attorney do not fall under the direct control of the Village Manager.
The job of Village Clerk is a very important job, and the fact that when the Clerk is not at work, there is no one else that can provide service to the residents who need something from that office should, on it's own be enough to require that next year's budget be increased to create the position of Assistant City Clerk/Secretary.
If Benton wants a secretary - and he's certainly entitled to one - then that person should not be a Charter Officer, but a regular employee.
THE SOLID WASTE DEPARTMENT
At last night's Candidate Forum several of the candidates talked in glowing terms about the quality of service of the guys in Solid Waste, who even on Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays are out there picking up the Village garbage.
What none of those candidates talked about was rewarding those Village employees - and the employees affected are every employee who wears an Organge Shirt - by demanding that the Village return the Merit raises that were taken away from them back negotiated away with the understanding that when the economy improved those raises would be reinstated.
Based on a multi-city study that was done a few years back, our Village employees are the lowest paid, and that is something that needs to be corrected.
People are entitled to be paid fairly, especially those who pick up our garbage!
These are just 3 of the budet items that I think need to be addressed tomorrow. I urge you to give some thoughts to items that you need to be addressed, and show up at the Chit Chat. Maybe, if enough folks show up and come with factual information and suggestions we can go from a Chit Chat to a Workshop.