Letter to the Editor: Does the city understand how to manage its finances?

Dear Editor,

(These comments are in response to the September 28, 2020 Clarkston City Council meeting.)
How SAD dependent are the City’s finances? The need of additional citizen financial contributions has increased with Council’s decisions to continue to make capital project expenses.  The City Manager presented a constrained budget in the 2020-21 budget approval process on June 24, 2020.  The constrained budget preserved   funds to pay the City’s $350,000 cost estimated by Mr. Tamm for the Bisio FOIA lawsuit by having NO capital project expenses and having City EMPLOYEE LAYOFFS.
Since the Michigan Supreme Court Bisio FOIA decision against the city, Council has approved spending $50,000 for the City Hall driveway, $32,000 for City signs, and paying $98,000 in unbudgeted costs for the interceptor repair.  Council has been advised of additional $19,000 unbudgeted expense for the City’s portion of East Alley repair. Tonight’s consent agenda includes reimbursement 0f $8000 for HRC professional services for capital project expenses. Tonight’s proposal to repave North Holcomb Road for $90,000 will likely be approved.  The DNR project requires unbudgeted $127,000 capital project expenses prior to August 2022 in order to be subsequently reimbursed $50,000.
$50K+$32K+$19K+$8K+$80K+$127K=$316K with no current source of parking revenue.
Does Council understand the risks represented in the September 14 decision to juggle the use of water and sewer funds by moving the entire City Hall $300K renovation mortgage to use the City’s water fund, so that $98K could be paid from the sewer fund for the unbudgeted Interceptor repair.   
The sewer fund is intended be replenished by using a Special Assessment District to collect funds from City taxpayers with an additional amount added to quarterly sewer bills.  The SAD process requires public notices and public hearings. 
The process may take more than 18 months until the replenishment funds have been collected.
Comparing the constrained budget to City spending suggests the City has no intention of paying the Bisio FOIA expense with existing City funds.
How does the City intend to pay the $350,000 estimated Bisio FOIA costs?   Will the City require the Special Assessment District approach, funded by citizens, to pay $350,000 Bisio FOIA expense estimated by Mr. Tamm?

Chet Pardee

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