Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Budget fails

Requiring a super majority vote of 5, the 2011 budget, which still contained $1 million in police and fire concessions that the Republican council majority rejected Tuesday night, failed to pass during last night’s 16-minute Special Council meeting. With Mr. Thornbury absent, Council President Jane Grote broke a 3-3 tie by voting with fellow Republicans in favor of passage. This means two deadlines are being missed. Today, the Certificate of Estimated Resources was to be submitted to the Hamilton County Auditor, and tomorrow is the date the state requires a budget.

Prior to the vote, Law Director Ted Kiser said the law doesn’t give much guidance about the budget, although expenditures cannot exceed the Certificate of Estimated Resources. Apparently, the rejected $1 million in police and fire concessions could remain in the proposed budget so long as they are never executed in violation of current union contracts. Ohio Revised Code says “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury” in the absence of a budget.

In regard to the $1 million in concessions still in the budget, Mr. Sanker recalled statements made by City Auditor Jim Stith (he was absent) stressing that fictitious numbers can’t be forth in the budget. While it’s acceptable for a budget to be off by $50,000, Mr. Sanker said, we’re obligated to payments without the concessions in budget, and we would knowingly be off by $1 million.

Mayor Williams responded to Mr. Gabbard’s questions regarding whether or not more concessions have been offered by the police and fire unions. Mayor Williams said he had received a “clear no” last night because the unions believe their rejected offer was good. He indicated their positions have hardened in the aftermath of the negative reception some council members gave their offer. Asked if the 2-year contract council rejected last night is still on the table, Mayor Williams said “as far as I know.” That’s not exactly a “yes.”

Mr. Mumper stated this week’s payroll is the last one covered by the temporary appropriations ordinance. Ms. Laake said she understands anything paid after today will be contingent on a budget passing, and that one would have to pass in order for the next payroll to be paid in two weeks.

Just as the meeting adjourned, Ms. Grote announced that tonight’s Special Council meeting is canceled. There are no Finance Committee meetings or other Special Council meetings scheduled. The next regular council meeting is Tuesday, 4/12/11.