In last night’s city council budget workshop, everything I’ve been saying all along has come to fruition.
Any way you slice it, using money from the rainy day fund for items that are not detrimental to the health of the city is a dumb idea. Mindy Manson, City Manager Extraordinaire and posse sought the advice from a financial advisor who told them in order to keep the city bond rating healthy, they should maintain the rainy day fund at 20-25%. Well I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Oh sure, people like the Library Ladies and the Wylie Spew crowd like to repeat those catchy phrases they hear tossed around by our council at meetings. It’s certainly easier to use someone else’s words than to come up with your own. As it were, we find out later that the 15% our council approved as a rock- bottom, drop-dead rainy day fund balance mistakenly thought to be healthy to maintain our bond rating, didn’t appear to be so healthy after all. Gee big surprise.
In the meeting, Manson cited a source which defines a rainy day fund as, “A cushion against circumstances where there might be a revenue shortfall or unanticipated expenses.” Damn I love being bright. OK, I like being right too. Manson ended the budget somewhere about 27-28% rainy day fund. This means that we can still use it next year for those increased bond payments we are expecting, and some desperately needed equipment. Now I’m feeling the need to point out here that bonuses and raises are not unanticipated expenses. They should be anticipated and taken out of the general fund.
According to Mayor Pro Tem Red Byboth, he came up to me after the meeting and uttered the words, “I may have lost this battle, but I won the war.” I’m wondering exactly what war he thinks he won. Could it be the one he created between the left and the right on our council? Or could it be something else entirely such as the burning desire to have one of the three ‘delivered’ to him. Deliverance is not all it’s cracked up to be.
I believe Byboth played the 2% raise, knowing it would never pass muster, and that he might get those against the raise to consider the 2% bonus as the lesser of two evils. I think he is under the misconception that because Councilman David Goss, Councilman Bennie Jones, and Councilwoman Diane Culver agreed with the bonus being taken out of the contingency fund rather than the rainy day fund so that the budget could balance and rainy day funds could be left intact, his master plan to sway them was sealed in some sick and twisted way. If Byboth’s great claim to fame is to bully council members around the chamber and behind the scenes with head games and smoke and mirrors, then he misses the point of this exercise completely.
My, but that’s a pretty arrogant stance he takes, thinking he won some fictitious battle, and also a fairly subjective one as well. He doesn’t take into consideration the reasons those three were against the 2% bonus in the first place or why when polled at the workshop that they consider supporting the budget as it stands now with rainy day fund sans a 2% bonus. Could it be that the player is getting played?
So let me get this straight, Byboth’s apparent sole purpose for pushing this asinine 2% raise and looking like a total buffoon was merely to scam the three council members who were against taking it out of the rainy day fund to come over to the dark side and approve the 2% bonus instead in his little switch hit plan? I’m thinking the only point he truly made here was that he comes off looking like a total ass-clown, willing to exclaim publicly that he wanted to cut heads and lose the trust of city employees as well as citizens. Seriously, the only thing he did was make himself appear to be that type of council member I’ve been blogging about since the very beginning. I’m thinking Red lost the whole war on that one.