Fiscal Recover Plan Passes Council
At the Special Meeting on Monday, July 28, 2014, City Council approved Mayor Lansky’s Fiscal Recovery Plan (2014-60) 4-3 (8:30). The plan is due to the State Auditor’s office by August 8, 2014.
During discussion of the financial recovery plan we learn that Economic Development Functions are being shared by the Administration (6:40) and that mechanical repairs, which used to be done by the service department before all the mechanics were laid-off/retired/resigned, are being outsourced (7:28).
Council also voted on several additional pieces of legislation.
7 yes. Legislation to increase the fee had come before council at the May 21, 2014 Regular Meeting to increase the fee from $75 to $500.
Clarification from Councilwoman Jones: Council passed this ordinance 7-0, decreasing the fee from $500 to $250, putting Maple Heights more in-line with other Statewide municipalities. Additionally, at the May 21, 2014 Caucus Councilman Brownlee had expressed concern that the $500 fee was too high.
2014-62 Negotiate Cell Tower Agreement at Dunham Park
6 yes – 1 abstain
2014-63 Encouraging Cuyahoga County Council to establish a Demolition Fund
2014-64 Repealing Elimination of Solid Waste Fund (2014-46)
2014-46 is being repealed because Mayor Lansky vetoed the Legislation (2014-47) to keep the Fund. Both pieces of legislation passed, 4-3, at the July 7, 2014 Special Meeting due to one council member voting “yes” for both. The Mayor’s veto of 2014-47, means that 2014-46 will take effect (solid waste fund will be eliminated and its balance transferred to the General Fund) 30 days from its passage by council, unless repealed by council.
Councilman Brownlee brings to council’s attention the 4th “where as” of the legislation (introduced by Councilman Cefarrati) that the state auditor recommended that this fund be maintained as its own fund to monitor it’s balance. Mayor Lansky lashes out at Councilman Brownlee, calling him a hypocrite for not transferring the entire balance of the rainy day fund, as the auditors office had recommended, since he’s embracing their advice on the Solid Waste Fund.
Ironically, the legislation to transfer the majority of the money in the rainy day fund was passed unanimously and was amended by Councilwoman Agee, to keep the fund instead of eliminate it, and Councilman Jackson, to continue to keep a small portion in the rainy day fund. Of course, if the Mayor is going to criticize Brownlee (and Council) for not following the state auditors advice, why did he veto the legislation to keep the Solid Waste Fund? What did the auditor’s office representatives say about the rainy day fund? They said “it’s raining…” and advised council to look at how the fund was set up and what it is for. They did not specifically say to transfer the full amount into the general fund. Furthermore, Council’s decision to transfer only part of the fund is not an ultimatum but rather a measure to continue to keep some money aside for the unexpected. At the administration’s request and council’s discretion the remaining balance can be transferred to the general fund.
Next, Councilwoman Jones, who was upset about the rainy day contingency fund being amended so that not all of the money was transferred, jumps in and asks how repealing the legislation to eliminate Solid Waste Fund balance with Financial Recovery Plan, which was approved by council earlier in the meeting, because one part of the plan includes transferring the Solid Waste Fund balance to the General Fund. Then, Mayor Lansky, butts back in to rehash the confusion that occurred at the meeting when 2014-46 (eliminating the solid waste fund) and 2014-47 (keeping the solid waste fund) both passed 4-3 because one councilmember voted for both pieces of legislation. At that meeting Assistant Law Director Melling ruled that 2014-47 superseded 2014-46. Finally, Councilman Adams, asserts his conviction for the Solid Waste Fund money to stay put, because that’s the purpose for which the money is assessed to residents property tax bill. Mayor Lansky gets in the last word, by again “clarifying” what happened on July 8th and telling council they only get one vote. In reality no member of council got more than one vote on any one piece of legislation, rather one member just voted “yes” for two pieces of legislation, which in this case happened to contradict each other.
Council passed the legislation (2014-64) to repeal 2014-46 (Elimination of Solid Waste Fund) on emergency (which means it will take effect immediately after the Mayor signs it) 6-1. The saga might not be over yet if the Mayor chooses to veto the repeal.