Guided by the city’s auditor, the new Clarkston treasurer wisely recommended city council amend the 2015-16 budget by almost $60,000, to reflect expenditures already incurred.
The council approved the budget amendment with three days remaining in the fiscal year ending June 30.
Starting with the positives, it could’ve been more; wasn’t spent on fancy cars; fixed the budget just in time; there’s still a fund balance; and now starting a new fiscal year.
But how could the city make that level of expenditures without following the Budget Act of Michigan by formally seeking council’s approval and amending the budget accordingly? Now, the fund balance is reduced by almost $60,000.
City officials have not publicly recommitted to abide by the Clarkston City Charter, City ordinances and the Michigan Budget Act regarding city expenditures. No one has committed “to get to the bottom of this so it never happens again.”
The citizens of Clarkston deserve an explanation. City Council needs to commit to a thorough examination of how the nearly $60,000 in expenditures were made without their formal review and approval.
Clarkston city council agenda items were formally requested on July 6, specifically to examine who authorized expenditures added to the 2015-16 amended budget in the 6/27 council meeting; who approved the expenditures; who decided council approval was not required; and who decided amending the budget was not necessary when the expenditure was made.
I am also asking the city clerk to read aloud the oaths taken by each city official; requesting Attorney Thomas Ryan to highlight the items in the city charter, ordinances and State of Michigan Budget Act relating to city expenditures requiring council approval and budget amendments; requesting Ryan provide his interpretation of “material” as it relates to involving the county prosecutor and the State of Michigan regarding Budget Act violations; and requesting City Council members, mayor and city manager to affirm publicly their commitment to abide by the city charter, ordinances and Michigan Budget Act, specifically as it relates to city expenditures.
It remains to be seen what the city will do with the agenda requests. City officials have not yet provided the transparency the citizens deserve.
We have lived in Clarkston for 45 years. In all that time, I have always been impressed with the quality and professionalism of the law enforcement we enjoy here. The members of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office are first class, including our next door neighbor. The Pontiac police officers I have known were equally competent and fine people.
My most recent personal contact with an officer happened to be as the result of an accident. The other driver was a young father with his 5-year-old daughter in a car seat in the back. No one was injured, but she was scared. The way the Waterford policeman who came related to her and assuaged her fears was very impressive. Officially, that was the least important thing he did for us that day. Humanly, it was the most important.
We are blessed with the law enforcement personnel in our area. I am grateful and want them to know it.
Thanks to Catallo
The Clarkston Farm and Garden Club is responsible for the care of the 25 stone planters that line the village business district.
Recently, one of those planters was knocked over into the street. As we investigated, we stood there wondering how we would ever be able to lift it back into place. At that point, a pickup truck stopped and out stepped Curt Catallo who said, “How can I help?”
After a brief discussion, Curt announced, “I will be right back.” Sure enough, down the street came Curt with four strong-looking employees from the Clarkston Union.
With a Herculean effort, the team put the heavy stone planter back on it’s feet. With utmost care, Curt repaired a broken stone planter corner to look as good as new.
He even sent down another employee to sweep the debris from the street. Thank you Curt for coming to our rescue and thank you for all of the positive things that you do for our community.
Support for bond
I will vote Yes for the school bond on the ballot this August. This is a unique opportunity to keep our schools competitive and not increase our taxes. The financing employed will extend the maturity date of the bond, however it does not increase our mill rate. We need to keep our community strong and growing. There is no better investment than for us to continue to be leaders in the security and technology employed in our schools.