Saturday, July 23, 2005

July 23, 2005 "Oops"

Remember your mom telling you, "haste makes waste"?

At the Commission meeting on July 21, the Finance Director and County Mayor David Purkey got kind of hot when I expressed my frustration at being handed financial figures and budget info during the meeting and not having an adequate opportunity to review them before a vote was taken.

My point was that we need time to review figures to see if they match what was voted on previously in committee. The whole thing reminded me of what happened just two weeks ago when we received the certified tax rate and the Trustee took those figures and calculated new revenue totals and Mayor Purkey and Ms. Epps took those figures and gave us new budget summaries and then ...

OOPS, I took a look at the calculations and found out the new tax rate had been miscalculated--it was 11 cents too high. That meant that the revenue projections were $1.2 million too high, and the budget summaries were no good. Haste makes waste!

The word I used to describe my feelings at the meeting on Thursday, being handed figures and then told to vote, was "stunned." Yes, I am stunned that we sit there while papers and numbers are thrown at us on the day we are to vote. In this instance, some of the papers and data were handed to us in the middle of the meeting while other business was being handled.

When I got home Thursday evening, I had time to review the data and found that the general government fund was showing "only" about a $460,000 deficit where it was about a $760,000 deficit when we left the July 19 meeting.

On Friday afternoon, July 22, I planned to e-mail Mayor David Purkey and Finance Director Nicole Epps to see if the $300,000 difference was related to the extra $300,000 that Herbert Harville and 8 other commissioners had voted to take out of the county government fund and give to the school system on top of the $2.8 million in new funds that the schools were already getting.

I went to work and didn't get home until 5:30. There was no use in sending an e-mail then--everyone at the Courthouse would be gone. My question about the $300,000 that was left off would have to wait until Monday.


On Saturday, July 23, guess what arrived in the mail?

An "Oops!" letter from County Mayor David Purkey and his Finance Director Nicole Epps. There was indeed a $300,000 mistake in the General Fund. The $300,000 that Commissioner Harville had voted to give to the schools from Trustee's fees had been left off of General Fund expenditures. Long and short of it: the figures we voted on so hastily and without reviewing them were wrong.

"Haste makes waste?" Yes, it certainly does.


Jim said...

Government is not about one single person it is the art of the possible. You seem to have alienated your fellow county commissioners how effective is one person standing alone? I hate that for my county. I watched some of the meetings on TV and feel you are sharing with the public only part of the story through your comments. I think your intentions were nobel when you took office but somewhere I feel, by your resposes that it has become a personal battle with everyone who also has the best intention of the county in mind. This Saddens me for my county.
As a teacher for 11 years, I am sure you are familier with John Donne----"No man is an island, entirely of himself".

Linda said...

I'm sure you are concerned that we keep raising taxes, and yet our new county budget is $760,000 in the red.

Keep speaking up.

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men (and women)." Abraham Lincoln