August 23, 2019 10:21:22 AM
City finances not adding up for reader
Sitting through the council meeting this week, listening to the figures thrown around about cuts and savings made my head spin. Spreads sheet were shown on the screen as the mayor made his presentation, but no hard copies were given out to the gallery, so it sounded great but it's hard to get a true understanding without the documents in hand. The new CFO said our bank accounts were stuffed with cash, the mayor said over $7 million. Mr. Crowder stated some months back the we would have deficit of $338,000 by the end of the physical year if something didn't change. I understand cuts have been made, city services have been reduced, a hiring freeze in our police, fire and public works departments. The city has also borrowed $5 million for storm cleanup hoping the Feds will help. $100,000 has been spent for a street light survey, the council voted to spend $3 million-plus for LED lights, and we are trying to build a new fire station on a shoe string budget.
On top of that, numerous trips have been paid for a fire department certification, which has been proven not to affect for our fire insurance rating and also not supported by the majority of the firemen. For those like me that have been trying to understand what's going on, I wonder where the monies came from to make our finances look better? Sale tax receipts are up by a very small amount. We now have $2.7 million in our operating fund which is a big improvement from the $880,000 deficit some months back. A hiring freeze, cuts in medical insurance for city employee and a reduction in public services have created $2.7 million in operating funds. This seems like a miracle or fuzzy math.
I only hope things can turn around, but when we have leaders wanting to spend without having a plan for paying for things, it's just plain scary. If you haven't maybe we should pray for our "Friendly City".
God Bless America and Columbus.
Lee Roy Lollar
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