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 Ortonville City Council Budget Cuts, Unbelievable

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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Ortonville City Council Budget Cuts, Unbelievable   Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:58 am

On Thursday evening a 5:00 p.m. members of the Ortonville City Council met to discuss the proposed budget cuts. Members present were Mayor Blair Johnson, City Clerk/Administrator David Lang, City Council Members Nick Anderson and John Cunningham.

There is much concern by the public as to what cuts will be made. In all fairness people should be aware that cuts are always a difficult thing to do and the council members were discussing many options as to what cuts would be made. It is one thing for people to hear about a cut be unhappy with it wondering why they would cut that area. It is another matter to sit in while the men in charge wrestle with the facts of situation. In the discussion there seemed to be a real concern and desire to work for the best solution.

A great deal of discussion went into the street department and what if any cuts should be made. Mr. Anderson made repeated statements that they avoid cutting any employees. Some talk was made about purchasing gas for .05 or .10 less than what is available at the pumps for city vehicle use. They already do that now for some of the city vehicles but the unit is old and it would need to be upgraded in order for all city vehicles to use the system.

There was a discussion that the Hospital should pay more for the city to shovel out the parking lot. As of now they do pay some but it was unsure if that payment actually covered the cost of the use of the equipment and wages of the men working. It was also noted that they didn't know which fund that payment went into.

One of the concerns was cutting back on the police department. Mr. Lang stated that it was inefficient to have two departments operating in the same area. You have two well paid administrators overseeing five or six people. Mr. Anderson concurred that while he didn't want to see any employees cut, a plan should be made to change that situation. He thought that Curt and John should get together and work it out.

The park located on the peninsula should be looked into. If it isn't being used perhaps it could be broken into two lots and sold for $50,000,00 thereby providing revenue.

Some of the members brought with them suggestions from the public. One person wanted to know why the city couldn't use revenue from the hospital. Mayor Blair said that would be a hope in the future to use that but with the bond issue right now and the building going on that wouldn't be feasible at this time.

Nick Anderson suggested the Golf course should be more profitable. Mayor Blair responded that he wanted the same and said he has often suggested that they need to raise their rates to be in alignment with other golf courses. He noted that some people thought raising the rates would cause fewer people to use it.

The council discussed not offering benefits to permanent part-time employees who had a set number of hours a week below a certain threshold. Their was concern that they may lose good part-time people but that most places do not offer any benefits to part time help.

Discussion was made on not having the pool open every evening but cutting it back to only three days a week. David Lang was going to run the figures to see how much they save. They also thought it was a good suggestion coming from someone at the pool that they only offer swim lessons in June and July. In the past they offer them in August also but it usually has very few students because the summer is almost over and people are getting ready for school.

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson


Last edited by Lady Hawk on Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Where is the budget.   Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:14 pm

City Administrator David Lang stated at the above meeting that the budget is over 100 pages. I asked him if people were going to be able to see the proposed budget before it is voted on. Mr. Lang assured me that he would have the budget put up on the City website today (Friday 1/30/09). The budget would not be complete because they would still have another meeting on Monday Feb 2, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. to talk about any more changes.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Lang has not followed through on his promise. The time is now 10:00 p.m. and the budget is not on the website.

Will the City Council move forward and vote on the budget before anyone else can see what is being voted on? This is not giving the public any opportunity to address what is being done with the budget. The City Council is saying on one hand that they want the publics input and will accept verbal suggestions that they bring to the meeting but there seems to be no attempt at allowing the public to view the proposed budget.

As a member of the press it is customary to receive packets of what is to be discussed at meetings but there was no packet for the press at the Thursday Workshop meeting. Why is the press being denied that information? Mr. Lang stated the reason he didn't have a packet for me was because he didn't know anyone was coming. I find that inexcusable because packets are to be made up for the press whether they are there or not. I have attended meetings where the press hadn't attended and packets were there for them and the packets were given to them the next day.

This behavior only adds credibility to this site. Every other city we have talked to has been most cordial and supportive. What is wrong with Ortonville?

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Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: Thanks for the crick in the neck.   Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:26 pm

It is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and I have now found the budget on the city website. It is uncertain when it went up. I wish I could thank whoever took time out of their Saturday to put it up. See budget here.

It's not that I am not grateful but is there some reason that it is sideways? One can get an awful crick in the neck reading over 100 pages of columns of numbers sideways. No Doesn't the person in charge of the website know how to load a page? bang head

I am sure that who ever used the computer to write the budget it was straight up and down when they did it. Why go to the extra trouble to turn it sideways so that people can't read it without getting neck and eye strain. Shocked


I considered laying my computer screen sideways but the last time I tried it my peanut butter and jelly sandwich got squished and I am really hesitant to do it again. janitor Perhaps some one should notify the Northside Medical Clinic to expect to see an increase in patients on Monday with their necks locked to one side. doctor nurse

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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Lady Hawk
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PostSubject: The proposed budget.....unbelieveable!   Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:03 am

After a cursory review of the proposed city budget I can't stop laughing. rofl

It is unbelievable but the city is proposing to budget a loss for the golf course. The administration recommended a loss of ($67,680.00). I can't stop laughing. rofl Who in their right mind budgets a loss. Can they do that?

Spoiler:
 

Where is the city attorney? Isn't it the job of the city attorney to make sure that things are done legally. It is not the job of the city attorney to rubber stamp what ever the council does. Has the city attorney seen this? Perhaps the new protocol is for the council to vote on things and then give it to the attorney to approve. At least that was the way it was recently done. See here.

Of course he may be busy right now writing up the new resolutions for the city council meeting on Monday night:
City Attorney Reports & Recommendations
a. Resolution Approving Adoption of Guide for Members of the Public Requesting Information from the City of Ortonville
b. Resolution Approving Adoption of Legal Disclaimer & Website Policies,

(I wonder at whom those two resolutions are aimed at? whistle )

Say, I have the solution to the Cities budget problem. They need to cut $50,000 right? All they have to do is budget the Golf Course loss at $17,000 and that saves them the $50,000. They can check the figures with Mayor Blair after all he is an accountant.


Above is the budget proposal for the Golf Course. You will please forgive me if I crow a bit but I managed to tip it back up without the help of computerwhiz. It wasn't that tough. All it took was the touch of a button. Perhaps the city should see about getting a rotate button on their computer.

_________________

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived;
but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light.
- Thomas Jefferson
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