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McCleary mayor has a lot of questions to answer

This letter responds to the Nov. 20, 2013 McCleary City Council meeting. This meeting was not on its regular night due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Notice of the change was not in The Vidette. There were no official posters, that I saw, advising the public of this change. The only notice this writer is aware of is the handwritten notice posted in the Post Office.

My guess is that it was put there by a concerned citizen. Why didn’t the city council make an effort to inform the public of a different date for the meeting?

Mayor Gary Dent was not at this meeting, but had prepared a detailed agenda in an effort to balance the budget.

Item No. 1 states: “One police officer position will be cut.” Currently we are fortunate to have four dedicated hard-working police officers to give us 24/7 protection. (Do the math.) What will happen if we have to cut one position?

Item No. 4 states: “I will also enter into negotiations with Mayor Osgood, (of Elma) for combining fire protections services.” My concerns are: Would they accept us? Would this really be an improvement? Would it stretch their resources more than they could afford?

Item No. 5: “I will transfer over $110,000 from the current expense reserve fund, leaving the city in a desperate position that could lead to bankruptcy in 2015 if we cannot recover from the loss of revenues and necessary expenditures needed for a healthy level of service, which I have committed myself to for our community.” Transferring that money leaves $82,000 in reserve. That’s unbelievably low for a reserve account. What measures has the mayor taken to prevent this fiscal disaster?

Further on in the agenda is a list of other cuts the mayor would be willing to make. Close the museum down. Close the McCleary Library

Mayor Dent also wrote, “As Mayor, I am prepared to veto any budget that does not meet the criteria I have listed above.”

Just before the meeting, revisions to this draconian budget were received by city council members. Council members expressed their dismay at receiving this revision too late to review it fully. What measures has the mayor taken to prevent future fiscal disaster?

The budget was published “online.” Many residents do not have computers and do not know how to get online.

The mayor was responsible enough to run for a second term instead of leaving this mess for someone else.

Pat Ward