March 25, 2019 9:55:39 AM
City in peril, problem or crisis: Is it time to panic?
Definition of a problem: An issue, a query or a proposition. The mayor says we have a problem.
Definition of a crisis: A turning point, juncture, emergency, pinch, trial or crunch. Mayor Smith says no to a crisis. You decide.
I don't know and have not been privy to what Mr. Rawl did or didn't do to get us into this financial mess, problem or crisis. I do know for the past several years, we have been spending monies apparently we didn't have. Some might call it fuzzy math, bad bookkeeping or accounting and even maybe even corruption. The word on the street covers a lot of those thoughts. When Mr. Crowder stated that he was able to get the city's bank account with in $14,000.00 of balancing and felt good about being that close, our city finances are in a real mess.
I do know one thing, we don't have any transparency. Contrary to some beliefs, the government doesn't have an endless supply of money, whether it is the city or the federal government. The Feds can print more, the city can't and their money tree has dried up. News Flash! The taxpayers are on the hook for all the spending and debt. Looking at a six-month projection is a good thing. Month by month analysis isn't working. Banking on FEMA, or future tax receipts is a scary thought. A lot of "what ifs" and "maybes" aren't going to get us out of these straits. Some hard decisions are going to have to be made. The question is: Are our public officials up to the task?
I have been talking about efficiency in the public works department for months to no avail. For example, five men in a truck, driving around isn't cost effective. But, that is only a small part of our problem. We have seen some grants applied for that might be good for the city, in better financial times, but they come with a price. The city has to pay their part. Another problem I've seen is, the J5 consulting firm, which, if I understand, gets a good cut out of all contracts the city has. What do we have a city engineer for? As I stated in a prior letter, there is a whole lot of over-seeing going on and not enough productive work happening. That's costing the city, or I should say the taxpayers, money. The question might be said, are we getting our money's worth? I would rather have some of the costly over-seeing fees cut than cuts to the police, fire and other departments. Don't punish those that did not get us in this mess. This is a great wake up call. Is anyone listening??
Answers are needed, decisions made and action taken. The citizens of Columbus are waiting.
God Bless America and Columbus!
Lee Roy Lollar
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