One of the many items approved at the City Council's annual reorganization was a three-month temporary budget to operate the city. Councilwoman Bridget Rivers said Monday the budgets for the mayor's office and the Recreation Division reflected an increase of $1,000.
"One thousand dollars can lead to a lot of extra slush fund," Rivers said.
For the mayor's office, the salary & wages line in the temporary budget is $55,000 and the amount in the adopted 2016 budget was $208,957. The "other expense" line is $7,500, compared to $25,500 for 2016. The temporary budget for Recreation is $52,000 in salary & wages, compared to $195,392 for 2016 and $44,000 in other expenses for January through March contrasted to $167,400 for 2016. The three-month amount is supposed to be 26.25 percent of the prior year's adopted budget.
Rivers asked Finance Director Ron West to explain. West said the budget was less than a 2 percent increase over last year and $1,000 was a "reasonable amount for the first quarter."
Rivers said if you start calculating "a thousand dollars here and a thousand dollars there," it's a lot of money.
"You have to be careful of that," she said.
Council President Rebecca Williams explained to the public that the council routinely receives a number of check registers and other documents regarding city finances..
Councilman Cory Storch asked to see the amounts in the three-month temporary budget expressed as percentages of the previous year's budget. Storch said he asks every year for the percentages.
The 2017 temporary budget was submitted by Richard Gartz, who only became the city's new chief financial officer last June. The resolution ran to three pages, with two categories of spending for over 30 offices and divisions as well as boards and commissions and other expenses. The largest first quarter amounts were for public safety, including $2,950,000 in salaries and wages for the Fire Division and $4,750,000 for Police Division salary & wages.