City council relies on info from city staff

$6 million, $5 million or $4 million in reserve is gone. It would be a very cold day in some place before Carol Stone would go through that kind of money with a real good reason. Anyone who does think that, does not know Mrs. Stone very well.

The last of our reserves went with the purchase of Monson's feedlot. The money has been gone for more than four years, and the current council has not had the luxury of reserves and contingency funds to fall back on.

In the fall of 2007 when they were informed of a $1.2 million shortfall, they did what any prudent person would do and made some very painful cuts. As a result, yes they did close the community center and for the most part eliminated parks and rec, etc.

Here is where I have a problem. We know how Mrs. Stone and Mrs. Hancock handled things, but if they had been confronted with the same problem, would Mr. Vlieger, Mr. Farmer and Mr. Raines have done things any differently? This is a question I would like the answer to.

Let's face a reality here. Each council has to work with the information the city staff provides it. If the staff fails to provide the members of the council with adequate information, there is very little the council can do except express the unhappiness at the city manager who answers to them and supervises the staff.

A couple of years ago we had a $1.2 million shortfall and now we have a $1.7 million surplus. I would really like to know where that money came from. Was the finance director wrong about the shortfall in the first place, or did it come from somewhere else?

/s/ Carol Peterson, Sunnyside


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