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Council passes temporary budget

Ironton City Council finished up some last-minute business during its final meeting of the year last night.

Friday, December 28, 2001

Ironton City Council finished up some last-minute business during its final meeting of the year last night.

Council, in order to maintain compliance with state law, passed the temporary budget sponsored by the finance committee. State law provides that a temporary budget be in place by the end of the year or the city shuts down. Council chairman Jesse Roberts said the temporary budget only reflects expenditures and fully funds each department without making any cuts. Roberts said council should have a permanent budget in place sometime in January.

The city’s permanent budget for next year will more than likely contain funding cuts to several city departments, which will likely result in the layoff of city employees. Roberts said that with the city’s current financial status and the economic outlook, it would be difficult to consider a budget that didn’t involve some sort of cuts in personnel in order to keep the general fund account in the black and keep enough carryover money available until the city is able to attract more business.

One measure that barely made the cut was a resolution that requires the city finance director to make the council aware of any expenditures at or above $1,000.

Roberts said this measure will permit council to receive a better look at how the city’s money is being spent. Roberts said there isn’t any implication that the city is misspending money, but council needs to become more aware of the city’s expenditures.

Councilmen Bob Lipker and John Elam voted against the measure, with Elam calling the item a way for council to "micromanage" the city.

Elam added that he would rather see a monthly report from department heads that shows budget variances. He said a monthly variance report would give council a larger window to view the city’s finances.

Elam explained that, during a month, there may be 10 purchase orders presented that were over $1,000 for all departments. However, department "X" may be $ 20,000 over budget, but no purchase orders exceeded the $1,000 spending limit so council was unaware that department "X" was over budget.

"To be fiscally responsible, I would rather see the whole picture, rather than a piece of it," Elam said. "I think that if I am only looking at purchase orders that are greater than $1,000 that there is a large portion that I would not be seeing. To be fiscally responsible, I would like to see variance reports presented departmentally, and how the department did as a whole compared to budget."