Comments on Budget
My name is Chuck Fredrick, I live at 1511 Madison St., and I certainly agree with Mr. Becker. I think there have been some things changed. The first thing is, I was at that meeting before the City Council meeting two weeks ago and there was discussion about the contingency fund. Mr. Ryan said he was in favor of it. I went back and checked from Sept. 24, 1998 and there were eleven times the contingency fund was mentioned and it was never mentioned in the minutes that Mr. Ryan wanted a contingency fund. I don’t know if there is anybody that doesn’t want one. It’s just a matter of common sense. I do financial planning and investments and the first thing you do is to have money set aside for a contingency fund for emergencies. What’s happened with this one is, I think, it’s been smoke and mirrors. You don’t know what in, what went in it, it changes back and forth. I think it’s time, if you’re going to have one, have it designated that you have a report done each month given to the City Council form the City Treasurer telling about where the money is, when went in, what went out, so you know. I don’t know if the majority of you know how much money is in the emergency fund right now.
The other thins is that in regard to the availability of the new budget. You have to start earlier than this. In other words, since I’ve gotten the budget copy, there have been two other copies. I think you’ve gotten the last one today. There’s no way for anybody who is interested, Mr. Becker, myself, or anybody else that’s interested in looking at what the budget is going to be like so we can talk to our representatives about it. There’s no other way we can know. I don’ t know what the last revision was now; you just go it today. You’ve got to have enough time in order for the public to have some input. You guys are representing us and it’s up to you to give us useful information once we can have it. You’ve got to start at least one month earlier than you have- at least that much.
I know on the budget itself I somewhat question how good it really is because you don’t follow it anyway. If you don’t follow it, a couple of departments are already way over it. I was at a meeting here in July, there was one meeting where Mr. Sanborn wanted not to pay some bills because some bills had not gone through the proper procedure. There was a five to five tie, Mr. Ryan rejected the offer, so they went ahead and paid the bills. The department heads think that they can just go ahead and buy what they want without going through the proper procedure. The budget means nothing. I know for one thing, Mr. Ryan, you’re over budget for this year. I think it’s up to you to set the example. Mr. Herdzina, your budget for this year, $141,800, already we’ve given your firm $359,315.12 according to my record. Now as a taxpayer, I can’t afford to have you as the City attorney anymore. We don’t need a full-time mayor, what we really need is a full-time, city-employed city attorney and I think the sooner we get one, the better, because I can’t, I don’t think the taxpayers can afford you.
Mr. Sanborn, I want to thank you for your efforts to try and save the taxpayers’ dollars. You say we lose about $500,000 a year because of double taxation. I hope you double your efforts talking about double taxation until the Council takes some action. If enough people had listened to you about five or six years ago, I don’t think we’d be in the pickle we are in right now. Now back on November 23, 2000, almost five years ago, Mr. Sanborn and Mr. Babbitt asked to have Kate Whitted, the State Auditor, audit all the irregularities that were happening at that time. I was on the Council at that time, Mr. Babbitt voted for it, Mr. Sanborn voted for it, Mr.Cascio voted for it, and Dr. Hatcher voted for it. It ended up in a five-to-five tie and Mr. Ryan rejected it. I believe that if the State Auditor had come in at that time, we wouldn’t have the budget problems we have right now. That is why, as a taxpayer, I’m demanding that we have a state auditor come in right now. If there are any skeletons in the closet, let’s find them now before we hire a new city treasurer. The first objection is going to be the cost, obviously. It’s going to cost some money for a state auditor. I believe the last time it was suggested five years ago, Mr. Babbitt said they might do some things free, then they charge us how much, but I do have some ideas on how to get that money too. That would be obviously the new City Treasurer should start with a clean slate. That’s only common sense. We have budgeted $32,000 for the League of Cities. When I was on the City Council five to six years ago, they came up here and talked about how much they were going to do to try to get those sales taxes that we’re losing in northwest Bellevue because of the zoned zip code there. They haven’t done a thing since that time. So we’ve spent $170,000 and we’re still in the same place, I say take that $33,000 and use that for the state auditor.
The other thing is that you have not been following City Code on, I even had some copies make on administration on pages 86 and 87, and there’s a number of sections there. The only one I’ll read is the monthly report. I think Mr. Sanborn just kind of talked about it. It says â€œthe City Treasurer shall at the end of every month, and as often as may be requested, render an account to the City Council under oath, showing the state of the City treasury at the date of such amount. The amount of money remaining in each fund and the amount paid there from, and the balance of money in the treasury. Such report shall be accompanied by a statement of all receipts and disbursements, together with all warrants redeemed and paid by the treasurer. Such report shall be filed with the City Clerk. I’ve never seen that done under oath. I’ve never seen that. All I can say is that it’s all the more reason for us to have an audit by the State Auditor now.
I do thank you for your time. I hope you make some real wise decisions.