GLASGOW — One issue brought up during a special-called meeting of the Glasgow City Council’s finance committee on Wednesday was the way the city’s budget adjustments are handled.
Committee member Jake Dickinson pointed out the city council approved nine budget adjustments Monday night.
Stephanie Garrett, city treasurer, explained the council actually only approved one amendment with eight or nine different entries.
Dickinson questioned an amendment he said was actually a transfer of funds made in October to the city’s parks and recreation department.
Garrett explained it was not a transfer of funds.
“We didn’t take it from one bank to the other. It wasn’t appropriated in this year. It was appropriated in last year’s budget,” she said, adding the check didn’t come until the current fiscal year. “We had to do a budget amendment to bring that in, and at that time that came in, there were other things that were coming up. I just held on to that to save putting it in the paper and wasting that much more money.”
Dickinson wanted to know whether the city made budget adjustments after the fact, and Garrett replied “not for anything big.”
Dickinson then wanted to know whether she considered $500,000 to be big.
“The policy is you cannot go over your budgeted appropriated funds you expended in your budget, and we had not,” Garrett said.
Mayor Dick Doty asked to speak to the issue.
“There’s $600,000 in our budget for buildings, so technically we didn’t have to make an adjustment to do that,” he said. “We did make that adjustment when we purchased the police department building. The money was in there. We couldn’t spend $1 million in buildings with only $600,000 in there.”
Dickinson asked whether it made sense to not make expenditures until after they are approved.
Doty replied that the expenditure was approved, but not the budget amendment.
“In a perfect world, yeah, we should have … to be perfectly honest, it costs us $400 to advertise a budget amendment. Those become quite expensive,” the mayor said. “If we had done each and every one of those at the time we had written the check, an adjustment of $10,000 for that tennis court, then that’s 5 percent you’ve got to add to the cost of a $10,000 grant.”
Doty was referring to $10,000 the city received from the Kentucky Tennis Association that was part of a budget amendment for which a first reading was approved Monday night.
Dickinson also questioned the amount budgeted for the wellness program.
Garrett assured him the city had money budgeted for the program, but Dickinson could not find it in the budget.
Garrett told him she believed the amount was $8,299.
“I talked with the mayor about it. He doesn’t recall us talking about that. I don’t think it’s in the budget,” Dickinson said.
Garrett said she, along with Joe Lascala, finance director, met with the mayor and discussed it.
“We didn’t know 100 percent that we could get it kicked off this year, but we have,” she said. “At the end of the year, it may be that it has cost us a little bit more than what we thought, and we have to go back and do a budget amendment for just what it did cost us.”
Committee member Gary Oliver had several questions about the city’s financial holdings, and he suggested the committee invite Sam Day Dickinson with Hilliard Lyons to speak at a future meeting.
“I just think he might be able to shed some light to help us manage some of that in the correct manner with the correct policies,” Oliver said.
The Daily Times questioned whether there was a family connection between Sam Day Dickinson and Jake Dickinson, and whether it could pose a conflict of interest.
Jake Dickinson responded he and Sam Day Dickinson are second cousins.
Doty pointed out Sam Day Dickinson would only be offering free advice to the city and there would be no expense involved.
“They have other people down there at Hilliard Lyons. Maybe I should have just stated that,” Oliver said.
The mayor turned the matter over to city clerk Tommie Birge, who sits on the city’s ethics board, to investigate.
Later in the meeting, Jake Dickinson said, “Best I recall nepotism ethics addresses immediate family members.”
The city has consulted KLC about the city’s financial holdings.
“We do know they’ve got some people that are municipal financial experts, … so we wanted them to do an overall review of our holdings, our financial position, and let us know if we are in good shape or bad shape, and if we are too conservative or not conservative enough,” the mayor said.
Committee member Joe Trigg told other members when he came on board as a city council member he attended a class taught by KLC.
“(They) talked about us as stewards of taxpayers’ money – it’s not our money – and to be careful about putting it out there outside of these government securities that are unfortunately no risk and no investment,” he said.
Trigg also questioned whether the committee should advertise for bids when requesting a financial adviser to speak to them.
Birge said she would check into the matter and report back to the committee.