Monday, August 4, 2008
THE GUARDIAN made it his business to sit in on a budget meeting as the numbers were getting crunched with various departments this year. Main motivation was the 54% increase in assessed valuation on the place I call home.
In the budget summary handouts received, THE GUARDIAN noted $198k under the total expenses for the mayor. The number sounded very high for just one person. A detail of that budget was requested and sent to me for review by the city finance director.
The Mayor's actual salary is $69,198, also under the "package" is $20,000 "employe performance pay" in the amount of $100 to $300 bonus checks for employees handed out by the Mayor, $10,000 car allowance for the mayor, on top of a fringes and benefits package of $25,425.
Next, is the area of maintenance and operation expenses for the Mayor. This section of the Mayor's budget comes to $72,700. Expenses listed under this part of the Mayor's M & O budget are: $10,000 for an employee appreciation banquet, travel budget of $14,000, community relations $32,500, Mayor's youth advisory council $12,500, dues and associations $2,500.
THE GUARDIAN sent a copy of Idaho Attorney Generals Opinion 78-44 to the city finance director suggesting that the city attorney review the opinion suggesting that some of the items listed under the mayor may not rise to an "ordinary and necessary expense" nor do they serve a "corporate or public purpose". The response to this advisory was to move the employee appreciation banquet amount of $10,000 into the employee performance pay section of the Mayor's budget monies. THE GUARDIAN received a "thank you" from the city finance director for pointing out that the $10,000expense was not in the right heading. There would be no banquet this year and the $10k would now go directly for "merit" opportunities in the form of $100-$300 bonus checks to city employees.
Next area of concern is the Mayor's Youth Advisory Council expenses and travel at taxpayer expense. Taking groups of young adults and other adults out of town at taxpayer expense is a concern. The Youth Advisory Group is not a publicly elected body. What is the corporate or public purpose of the expenses and trips charged to taxpayers by this group? The amount budgeted this year is $12,500 for the Youth Advisory Council. Trips have been taken to Washington DC, Louisiana, San Jose, Reno and other cities subsidized by taxpayer dollars. In addition, other expenses are charged to the taxpayers for this group.
The final budget hearing is scheduled to be tonight after the regular city council meeting.
EDITOR NOTE: The final budget approvals by the city council will take place on 8-18-08. There will be a presentation of the Caldwell budget at the Chamber of Commerce lunch today by the Mayor.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 8:19 AM