Let me take this step by step:
1. Here's page 299-300 of the city's proposed 2008-09 budget that pertains to the Capital Budget (the part that has the five 500,000 dollar bonds that the mayor is adding to our tax burden without our approval). Note the section highlighted in red.
2. From yesterday's Common Council meeting, listen to Lynn Taborsak as she attempts to talk about the out-of-control bonding habits of this mayor (NOTE: Why wasn't Taborsak allowed to speak about an item that's on page 305 of the very budget that's being approved? She point had nothing to do with the bonds but on the item on page 305).
(For the record, here's page 305 of the budget Taborsak was referring to...read it and weep).
3. In the video, did you catch Boughton say that the portion of the budget Taborsak was referring to (a portion of items within the Capital Budget) wasn't coming up for a vote until JUNE.
Think I'm kidding...look, here's the budget that was approved last night.
20 – ORDINANCE & RESOLUTION - An Ordinance Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2008 and ending June 30, 2009 and a Resolution Levying the Property Tax for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2008 and ending June 30, 2009
Notice something missing...you know, that portion of the Capital Budget that includes the five 500,000 bond items that the mayor claims he can do without going to referendum (LIKE EVERY PREVIOUS MAYOR PRIOR TO BOUGHTON HAS DONE IN THE PAST).
Here the reference to the bonds in the section of the Capital Budget entitled "Capital Budget Financing (page 301)"
Here are the items (bonds) from the Capital Budget in question that were not on May's agenda with the rest of the budget.
Here's the wording of the five bonds that are in question. Note the words "Capitol Budget" in the wording...
2. An Ordinance Appropriating $500,000 For Replacement Patrol Vehicles For The Police Department And For Public Safety Technology Equipment In The 2008-2009 Capital Budget And Authorizing The Issuance Of $500,000 Bonds Of The City To Meet Said Appropriation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose
3. An Ordinance Appropriating $500,000 For School Technology Projects In The 2008-2009 Capital Budget And Authorizing The Issuance Of $500,000 Bonds Of The City To Meet Said Appropriation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose
4. An Ordinance Appropriating $497,850 For School Improvements In The 2008-2009 Capital Budget And Authorizing The Issuance Of $497,850 Bonds Of The City To Meet Said Appropriation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose
5. An Ordinance Appropriating $500,000 For Recreation And Field Improvement Projects In The 2008-2009 Capital Budget And Authorizing The Issuance Of $500,000 Bonds Of The City To Meet Said Appropriation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose
6. An Ordinance Appropriating $500,000 For A Phosphorus Study In The 2008-2009 Capital Budget And Authorizing The Issuance Of $500,000 Bonds Of The City To Meet Said Appropriation And Pending The Issuance Thereof The Making Of Temporary Borrowings For Such Purpose
Now, go back to the top of this post and re-read the section in RED...notice the part that says May 15th.
Finally, take a look at section 7-4 of the city charter and take note of the section in BOLD.
Section 7-4 DUTIES OF THE COMMON COUNCIL ON THE BUDGET.
The Common Council shall hold one or more public hearings not later than May 1st or the next business day thereafter if May 1st shall not be business day, at which any elector or taxpayer may have an opportunity to be hear[d] regarding appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year. Following receipt of the estimates from the Mayor, the Council shall cause sufficient copies of said estimates to be made available for general distribution in the office of the City Clerk and, at least five (5) days prior to the aforementioned public hearing, the Council shall cause to be published in a newspaper having a circulation in the City a notice of such public hearing and a summary of said proposed budget estimates showing anticipated revenues by major sources, and proposed expenditures by budgets or departments in the same columnar form as prescribed for budget estimates in Section 7-3 of this Chapter, and shall also show the amounts to be raised by taxation. Not later than May 15th[,] or the next business day thereafter if May 15th shall not be a business day, the Council shall adopt a budget and file the same with the City Clerk; provided, however, if the Council shall insert new amounts or programs, increase, decrease or strike out amounts or programs in the budget such changes shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds [( 2/3)] of all the members of the Council. The ordinance adopting the budget may provide for appropriations by department or function, and such appropriations need not be in greater detail than to indicate the total appropriation for each department or function. At the time when the Council shall adopt the budget, together with a provision for uncollectible taxes reserve, it shall also fix the tax rate in mills which shall be levied on the taxable property in the City for the ensuing fiscal year. Should the Council fail to adopt a budget within the time specified, the budget as transmitted by the Mayor, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-3 of this Chapter[,] shall be deemed to have been finally adopted by said Council. The tax rate shall forthwith be fixed by the Mayor and thereafter expenditures shall be made in accordance with the budget so adopted.
A few questions:
1. If the mayor was certain that he could bring five 500,000 bond items to the council without it going to referendum, why wasn't this portion of the budget on May's agenda? Why was the vote of the bonds delayed until June's meeting? As far as I can tell, there was no explanation given for the delay because NO ONE asked Boughton (or President Joe Cavo) about this at the meeting.
2. If the charter states that the budget has to be approved by May 15, how can the section of the budget that pertains to the bonds (Capital Budget) be voted on IN JUNE. If any of the bonds pertain to items in the Capitol Budget for 08-09 (i.e., if the wording of the bonds have the words "Capital Budget 2008-2009" within in it), then shouldn't the items be voted on BEFORE May 15?
For example, from April of last year, here's the budget of 2007. Note item 21, which are the bonds for the Capital Budget (in bold).
20 – ORDINANCE & RESOLUTION - An Ordinance Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year . Beginning July 1, 2007 and ending June 30, 2008 and a Resolution Levying the Property Tax for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2007 and ending June 30, 2008
A. General Government 1 Budget Report
B. General Government II Budget Report
C. Education Budget Report
D. Public Works Budget Report
E. Health & Housing, Public Safety, Welfare & Social Services Budget Report
F. Grant Agencies Budget Report
21 – ORDINANCE - An Ordinance Appropriating $500,000 for Public Improvements in the 2007-2008 Capital Budget and Authorizing the Issuance of $500,000 Bonds and Bond Anticipation Notes of the City to Meet said Appropriations
This year, there was no iten 21 pertaining the to bonds for the Capital Budget because, according the Boughton, the item was being held till June.
3. If the items (bonds) are not voted on by May 15, then (if my interpretation of the charter is correct) aren't the bonds automatically approved in the next business day? Again, we're talking a portion of the Capitol Budget which is part of the entire budget, which, according to the charter, needs to be voted on my the 15th of May by the council OR ELSE the budget that the mayor presented (back in April) is automatically approved (per sec 7-4 of the charter).
Now, this could be just a misunderstanding
Something to think about...why were the bonds (which caused a great amount of controversy) NOT on May's agenda? Would it have to do with this statement from the former mayor?