Council approves transfer of $326K to rainy day fund

Council voted 7-3 to pass legislation to move $326,000 of surplus into the budget stabilization fund to prepare the city for its financial future.

City Council passed legislation on Tuesday to move $326,000 of surplus into the budget stabilization fund for capital improvement plans.

Council voted 7-3 in favor of Mayor Mike Bell's proposal. The three "No" votes came from Council President Joe McNamara, Councilman Mike Collins, and George Sarantou. supported the recommendation of Kerry Roe, the lead auditor for the auditing firm Clark Schaefer Hackett, that the surplus did not exist.

"Let's leave this myth of a surplus in the budget exactly where it belongs, under Webster's definition of Myth," attested Collins.

Sarantou agreed, "For us not to listen to certified public accountants is just like as if the law director came up here and told us what we can do legally and what we cannot do legally. And we ignored his opinion and listened to the people standing outside the building that were not attorneys."

Mayor Bell, along with Director of Finance Patrick McLean, presented to council a balance sheet that shows $5,376,000 of invested reserve funds, and that $326,000 of unreserved money is available to move into the budget stabilization fund.

"If you have an automobile that you've been making a payment on, and you make the payment and you still have $500 left in your paycheck, you could put it in the bank," said Mayor Bell. Bell warned a lack of rainy day funds could "jeopardize our bond status."

Collins maintained that the city still faces a nearly $5.8 million budget deficit.