An Easy Solution To This Financial Problem Is A Balanced Budget Ordinance By City Council member Stephanie Brinkerhoff-RileyIt would place the onus on the Administration. They would be obligated to review expenditures and revenue as of June 30th and make a forecast as to expenditures and revenue through December 31st. If expenditures are outpacing revenue, the Administration would be obligated to reduce spending and divide it as evenly as possible over August through December. And do so with the inclusion of City Council or at least the Finance Chair.What they do now is close the books on all nonessential vendors in October or November. Bills submitted in these months aren’t paid unless essential, like Vectren, until January or February. They had so many bills in 2014 that they couldn’t pay them all in January and some got pushed to February of 2015. A friend of mine sold a trailer to the City in October and was not paid until February. The contract employee who runs the Rental Registry went 4 months without getting paid last winter.Forcing an analysis and forecast would theoretically pull spending in line with revenue and potentially get vendors paid sooner, while pushing fewer bills into the next budget cycle.As of June 30th of 2015, expenditures were outpacing revenue by about 5 million. We know that revenue in the second half of the year is less than revenue in the first half. Property tax collections in June run about 55% of the total collected, and the bulk of the City’s other revenue sources wind down in the coldest months- zoo admissions, pool receipts, permit applications, etc.Revenue was 43 million and expenditures were 48 million as of June 30th this year. The blue book for June doesn’t accurately reflect this, as Russ invested property tax receipts in the Hoosier Fund for 21 days, so selling those investments shows up as revenue- it’s a double entry. He and I went over actual numbers at the August town hall meeting. He said revenue for the year would be 79 million. So we have 36 million in revenue to collect and 31 million that can be spent. That’s a bit over $5 million a month for July through December. We could with the right ordinance, pace that out over the rest of the year.I don’t think I’m having an original thought, but I have not looked at other cities to see if they have an ordinance that can be modeled. What do you think?Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley3rd Ward City Council MemberPlease take time and vote in today’s “Readers Poll”. Don’t miss reading today’s Feature articles because they are always an interesting read. Please scroll at the bottom of our paper so you can enjoy our creative political cartoons. Copyright 2015 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without our permissionFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Walking the white boardwalk at Second Street on Friday in Ocean City, NJ.A bright sun on Friday helped melt snow on some road surfaces, but with air temperatures topping out at 25 degrees, most of the six inches of snow that fell on Thursday stuck around.The winter storm and the cold snap is a reminder that winter won’t officially end for another two weeks.But the forecast for the weekend and coming week look much “balmier” — with highs each day in the 40s and no significant rain or snow on the way.See more images below.The battle of the frozen pipe continues in Ocean City — a water main break on the 400 block of Asbury Avenue sent fresh water bubbling up through cracks in the road, before New Jersey American Water Company crews arrived to fix it._____Sign up for free breaking news updates from Ocean City.Get Ocean City updates in your Facebook news feed. “Like” us._____The city plowed a strip of boardwalk between Fifth and 14th streets — but even that section remained icy on Friday.14th Street Pier on Friday.The beach at First Street on Friday.