The City of Shoreacres City Council approved its 2013/14 budget Monday night. On a 3-2 vote, the council approved spending $568,657.54 above the city’s revenues, shrinking the unallocated reserve fund to an estimated $386,000, or approximately two months operating expenses in a worse case scenario. Like a hurricane or something. But that would never happen, right?
Depending upon whom you ask, there are between 500 and 600 homes left in the city. So the net effect of the council adopting this budget is that each homeowner is out an extra $1,000 this fiscal year from the hard earned savings account. Or in Alderman Nancy Schnell’s vernacular, we’re borrowing $1 from our savings account for every $4 bucks we spend. And I thought the federal government had a lock on deficit spending.
I’d recap the whole meeting but there really isn’t a point to doing that. Feel free to listen online if you wish. I will say that not a single citizen in attendance supported the council’s decision during the various comment periods. The vote was a done deal the minute the meeting was scheduled. Aldermen Bunker, Jones, Moses, and Wheeler simply refused to cut the biggest budget item, personnel. It is impossible to balance the budget without addressing the relatively high personnel cost that the city is burdened with. You’ll note that there are four names in that list but only three voted for it. Alderman Steve Jones ultimately voted against the budget but did nothing to address the personnel issue during the various workshops. Only Alderman Nancy Schnell seems to recognize the gravity of our financial situation.
Citizen Gerry Victor is so concerned about the excessive spending that he urged council to raise the property tax rate to the new ETR. I understand his concern and if council had shown the fortitude to make hard decisions would have supported him. But I don’t want to be burdened with higher taxes simply because the people elected to run the city won’t make hard decisions.
Citizen Ron Hoskins told the council that by cutting where they did, which was mostly capital expenditures without addressing the monthly operating costs, puts the city in a deeper bind next near because ultimately, we are going to need new police cars, radios, etc. He’s absolutely right about that. And he didn’t even mention the water tower that must be replaced or how we could possibly pay for it.
So there you go.
My wife is so upset she wants to sell and move. But like I told her, there is still time to fix this. There is another election next May.