Sunday, April 11, 2010

Commission Meeting Tuesday April 13

There a couple of items of strong interest on the agenda. The first of course is the illegal continuation of the threats to fire the city manager. That would be a foolish act and I hope that the commission will not fire the CM.

We're in too deep a crisis to let egos get in the way but I do understand that at an undisclosed North Bay Island meeting Thursday night, more plans were discussed to bully the city into creating a circular firing squad and dismiss the City Manager. The plans sound like the usual fist shaking and temper tantrums and I am sure the citizens involved will be disclosing them shortly in anonymous emails and anonymous postings on LEOAFFAIRS.COM.

We are facing another round of cash shortfalls. The anticipated revenue collection is falling short compared to actual - down by about $230,000. The police cuts in the budget of $350,000 are nowhere near completed and the realized reduction of $172,000 is mostly going away due to the resignation of Chief Pandolfi. So that means to get through the year without major cuts, well... we really can't do it. I hope the commission is prepared to be working on this issue.

One new item on the agenda is a very interesting one. An interim police chief is being proposed. It will add costs - about $70,000 this year and that's a concern, but there does not seem to any obvious other way to go. The police are deeply divided, the cuts have to be made, the contract has to be negotiated and bringing on an experienced hand is an investment designed to guide the PD through the crisis.

So it should be an interesting night.

On another subject, there is scheduled community forum on April 27, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Lexi. There are many misunderstandings about the budget and how the city has to operate a balanced budget from the tax revenue base. We can't exceed that budget. The surplus (reserve) should be at about $3 million and it's not. The projects by law come from a different pool of money.

The forum is an attempt to lay out clearly what money is coming in, what is used for, what it produces, and what may need to be cut. It will be facilitated by Dr. Dario Moreno of the FIU Metropolitan Center (Urban Studies.)

Kevin Vericker
April 11, 2010

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