Island Borough Assembly met Thursday night for one of their shorter
meetings of the year. One of the few items on the agenda was a public hearing
for an ordinance that would amend the fiscal year 2012 budget, accounting for
various revenue and expenditure estimates.
Mel Stephens voted against the ordinance, saying, among many things, that he
didn't feel comfortable amending last year's budget after the money was already
spent. Specifically, Stephens pointed at various items on the budget that
weren't brought before the assembly.
Assembly 1 : 43 "Now
I don't recall these things coming before the assembly. Now I sometimes forget
these things, but I don't recall things like this coming before the assembly.
So it looks to me like what happened was money was spent on these things by
staff during the year, despite of the fact that those things were not part of
the budget, and now we are coming back and saying that was ok, they're budgeted
here. Now I'm not saying the money was poorly spent, and I'm not saying I
couldn't be convinced to vote for this. What I'm saying is when I look at the
explanation for all this, there is no explanation for all this which gives me
some heartburn and leads me to vote against it.")
listed projects like road shoulder and erosion repair and the Bayside emergency
generator as examples of items not accounted for in the previous budget. In
addition, Stephens said that he would humbly have to vote against the ordinance
because he didn't feel comfortable voting for something he did not fully
Louise Stutes also admitted to being confused with certain parts, and said if
she didn't understand it then it's more than likely some members of the public
didn't understand it and she would not vote for it.
Mayor Jerome Selby offered a brief explanation of the additions to the budget,
citing money saving reasons for making the adjustments.
Assembly 2 : 41 "I would just point out that we normally do this in
June. I think everybody understands that because of short staffing, staff
wasn't able to get it to us in June. But I think the primary reason that we
make these year end adjustments is because it saves us money. Because if we
don't' do this, the auditors will o this as audit adjustments, and each one of
those gets written up and it takes time and there's a charge for each one of
those. So we could have staff do it, and the auditors will confirm it under
part of the normal audit cost. But if they have to do a bunch of adjustments as
part of the audit process it will cost us hundreds more dollars for the
auditors to do it in lieu of the assembly doing it.")
In the end, the amendments to the
budget were passed by the assembly in a five-to-two vote. The meeting came to an early close with the
assembly taking an executive session to evaluate applications for the borough
manager's position. The next borough assembly meeting will be Thursday,