AGENDA June 28 City Council Meeting, #9. COMMUNICATION: Jonathan P.A. Leopold, Jr., CAO, re: Pooled Cash and FY 2011 Budget. Written material (as per request by Councilor Wright.) http://www.wcax.com/global/video.asp?clipId=4904273&topVideoCatNo=63459&autoStart=true "Seventeen million dollars can't just vanish and there be no impact," said Republican council member Kurt Wright. "Taxpayers are asking me, 'If that can happen, does that mean that we were overtaxed for the last couple of years?'" The administration says the $17 million came from other city funds.
At the June 15 NPA, residents asked councilors why the city had $17 mil to loan BT (but no money to clearout/mow poison in a city park where children play)? Was the cash from bond money we voted to approve for BED or the airport? Or was it cash accumulated from years of being overtaxed? Is the cash pool a slush fund that city officials use to fund pet projects, off-budget? Our city councilors did not know the answer, and we asked them to get answers and report back to us. Here is a portion of the Free Press article:
Kurt Wright asked Leopold for a “written explanation ... in easily understood language that can be explained to taxpayers easily. So again,” he said, “what departments did the money come from and how is it that we can spend $17 million and appear not to even notice that it is gone? Were taxpayers being taxed too much?”
“I think it’s a serious question that needs to be answered,” said Council President Bill Keogh, D-Ward 5. “We’re at the end of the fiscal year. The $17 million has to be identified somewhere. Definitely, I want an answer. I think the whole council wants an answer.” Keogh, too, said, the budget makes no reference to the $17 million.
Paul Decelles, R-Ward 7, said the question has been posed in a variety of ways over a period of months by a number of councilors. “I definitely haven’t heard an answer,” he said. “It hasn’t affected us to date with our budget, but if we go ahead on Monday, how can we be assured that that $17 million isn’t going to come back and bite us. I’m having a difficult time understanding that.” He said, if necessary, Leopold could provide his explanation with “crayons, on construction paper.”
Vince Dober, R-Ward 7, said that without an answer, he would not support the budget. He said it is embarrassing to be asked legitimate questions by constituents and be unable to answer them. “I expressed to them I feel the same way,” he said.
Read more: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20100623/NEWS02/100622013/1007/Council-questions-Burlington-Telecom-s-budget-absence#ixzz0rg7u8r6i