The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 7, 2014

Budget approved, but not without disagreement

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CAMANCHE — After a series of debates and disagreements, the Camanche City Council has approved a final budget for the fiscal year ending in 2015 — but still could not reach a decision unanimously.

During a City Council meeting Tuesday, councilmen Bill Wruck and Marvin Lind announced their votes against the budget approval, a decision that left councilman Trevor Willis befuddled and bothered.

“Can I ask why you voted no?” questioned Willis after the vote had concluded. “You guys wanted the money to come out of the general fund and had that changed at our last meeting to the way you wanted it, and now you’re voting no?”

Both Lind and Wruck responded by saying they didn’t feel the council had resolved its issues with the budget during a series of January and February work sessions, and didn’t feel comfortable approving a budget they didn’t agree with.

Despite successfully negating a potential franchise fee to Camanche residents and instead making up the budget deficit with general fund reserves, Lind still felt the council could have done more to work through the budget shortfalls.

“Nothing was really made resolved in the budget other than we’re going to take the money out of the general fund now. Nobody really did anything,” Lind said. “I just want it to be known that I’m not really for the way we did the budget.”

Although Wruck and Lind voted against approving the budget, the three remaining council members voted in favor and the FY 2015 budget was approved, bringing a sigh of relief to councilman Paul Varner.

Knowing the outcome if the council had not met the March 15 budget deadline, Varner reiterated how important it was that those two negative votes didn’t affect the passing resolution.

“If it hadn’t passed we would have been in deep trouble with the state,” Varner said.

According to City Administrator Tom Roth, if the city had missed the deadline, it would have also missed the state certification and subsequently been issued the same amount of tax dollars as the year before.

So if the city experienced economic growth or had requested more money in this year’s budget, those conditions would have gone unnoticed.

He added that if the city would have missed a second deadline, usually issued either May 1, or June 1, the state has the option to begin withholding payments such as Road Use Taxes.

“They start to get real serious about meeting those deadlines,” Roth said.