Citizens For A Better Norwood

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

8-mill levy renewal headed for November ballot

Councilperson Schneider the only holdout

Last evening, city council passed both levy resolutions during the last of 3 special council meetings devoted to the task of making a decision in time for the 8-mill renewal levy to be placed on the November ballot. The full text of the two resolutions is in a 7/20/07 blog below. For the sake of brevity, we will refer to them as they are labeled, A. and B.

Councilperson Vic Schneider was the only “no” vote on resolution A., and last night he explained why. Mr. Schneider says the budget is not being taken care of properly and that too much time is taken generating revenue instead of making sure the money coming in is being spent properly. These remarks echoed what he said during Friday’s special meeting when he stated his concern that there’s no plan in place for exactly how much levy money is needed and for what. Mr. Schneider has frequently criticized the budget process during his term on council.

Later, during discussion about Resolution B., which passed unanimously, Mr. Schneider said he was voting for it because of the spending restraints it intends, and he hopes the money intended for streets will be used for matching funds for grants. Then he added that the 3 earmarks in the resolution would not be necessary if the city had the proper finance people in place within the administration. He contends they would earmark the money “because it’s the right thing to do without council having to do it.”

The latter statement elicited a follow up question from John Mumper, who asked Mr. Schneider if he was commenting against the current treasurer and auditor. Why, yes, he was. He believed both should be at council meetings when millions of dollars are being discussed; both should be much more involved in the process. He also took Mayor Williams to task (again) for pushing for a part-time budget analyst (council set aside funds for the position last year) but then allowing it to fall by the wayside as the city’s financial health got better.

In response, Councilperson Sanker defended the absent mayor (again), claiming that interviews for the part- time budget analyst position have been ongoing. He did not, however, defend against Mr. Schneider’s remarks about the city treasurer and/or auditor.

In the coming days, we’ll have more to say about some of the discussion during the 3 special council meetings. We're still researching one topic in particular before we can publish the facts we're collecting from the county auditor's office.