Monday, December 10, 2012

Mayor Limits Citizen Input During Public Meetings...

This is a transcript from the video
City of Buffalo Missouri "Mayor's Comments Limiting Citizen Comments In Public Meetings"
My comments will be in Red Font

Mayor Mead: "Additionally with my mayor's comments I do want to take a few moments to announce that meetings will be run a little bit differently from here on out. I'll explain the reason and it's kind of long and I apologize to Mr. Stafford who asked that I be brief. When I was an assistant prosecuting attorney my goal was to not object a whole lot at trial. I'm not the objection person. Something I learned from Wayne (Alderman Rieschel) is let people have their day in court even though they can attest to clearly objectionable things just let them say it. Let them have their word. And a lot of times it would drive a judge nuts sitting up there and I'm not objecting to things that are clearly without relevance. And I've often ran our Board of Alderman meetings like that. I've always welcomed input from citizens throughout the entirety of the meeting. Wayne and I talked about this over a year ago (but they say they don't discuss city business outside of public meetings) and he told me "Andrew you need to tighten up your meetings." We do have a section for citizen comments however citizen comments will run through all the other facets of the meeting. And Wayne said "You need to tighten up the meetings a little bit so that they'll run smoother. For the remainder of our meetings it's for the Alderman to deliberate things." And I think I'm going to try to move towards that. So I do ask that when it is time for citizen comments, feel free to tell us what you think, feel free to give us input. But when we get down to other business, it's not an appropriate time for citizen comments at that point. It's a time for the Board to discuss and deliberate and defer to our professionals that are here to assist us, our department heads and we can make decisions among ourselves.  As always though and I don't mean to short circuit anyone's attempt to be a part of government feel free to contact your Alderman outside of the meeting. Feel free to contact your mayor outside of the meeting. We're happy to meet with constituents and partake in what we refer to as constituent servicing. Without further ado I will open up the floor to citizen comments. Does anyone have anything that they would like to add?"

(I have attended council meetings for over a year and never felt that citizen comments caused a problem in the meetings. You can view video's of the meetings from the past and see for yourself that this has not been a problem. I find this very convenient for the Mayor and Mr. Rieschel to present this change directly after a regular monthly meeting that I garnered support from the citizens in attendance, in regards to closing the meeting due to allegations of Sunshine Law Violations.)

Citizen: "Yes actually the problem with doing that that way is that, when we come here sometimes we don't have a question until we hear what's going on.  I don't think that's appropriate that you don't allow it. I've seen meetings where there's hardly anybody that had anything to say run just as long or just as short as the one's where people do. So I think that you're kind of squelching the community being involved in their city if you do that. Obviously the main part, it's right here in citizens comments but I don't have anything to ask because you answered my question already with your mayors comments but I might have a question later about something I don't understand that you guys are discussing up there so I'm not sure if that's a good idea.

Mayor Mead: "Oh I understand and for over a year and a half I ran it that way. And it's worked fine. (So why change it?) It's been mentioned to me by a few people and a while back for the sake of quick meetings and efficient meetings and for meetings where our Alderman can deliberate and not get side tracked. And side tracked is probably a poor choice of words but to stay on focus as much as what we're doing up here. (Citizens comments during the meetings has not caused the meetings to go longer, or caused Alderman to get sidetracked.) If you have a question and you know you can contact me at anytime."

Citizen: "I try to listen because sometimes you guys answer my questions before I go and ask it. Will you be having another town hall meeting sometime soon after Drury is there something that will be coming up that people can come to ask a lot of their questions then?"

Mayor Mead: "I don't have anything scheduled as far as a public format but I'm sure one will be forthcoming once we start realizing revenues for the new sales tax. I plan on having an Alderman meeting, special meeting to look at what projects have been put on the table and where we want to invest those funds and how we want to move forward. And that will be probably, I was going to have that for the first of the year but it will probably be around February sometime, we can discuss and garner some opinion up here. We've already heard the voice of the citizens from the town hall meeting and suggestions are more than welcome. I've had a couple people approach me about a skate park and I'm trying to get meetings scheduled for that to discuss a skate park..."

Alderman Horn: "I would just like to say I object to that. I think it's a bad idea. It discourages citizens involvement but if you're going to do it, my suggestion would be to change the location of citizen comments to the end of the meeting. So they can make their comments on what we discussed at the meeting."

Mayor Mead: "Sure. Not a problem. Any other citizen, yes mam."

Citizen: "I actually have several. I want to refer to the letter that one of the Alderman wrote to the newspaper, in regards to several of the issues that have been going on. For those of you who haven't read it I'm just going to read bits and parts of it. In regards to Kristie's (Alderman Horn) unfounded allegations to the Missouri Attorney Generals office. That statement is false. Kristie is not the only one who has made allegations to the Attorney Generals office and I'll say that because I also did. And I'll be specific because the letter also says to be specific. In the closed meeting section of the Sunshine Law it says when a public governmental body votes to go into closed session they must cite a specific statute and subsection allowing the closure. At the last council meeting there was a request made to go to closed council meeting and I specifically asked the reason. The statute was given but the reason wasn't given so I filed a complaint to the Attorney Generals office in regards to the Sunshine Law because I felt like I should have been able to be given a response as to what that closed session was for. The answer that I got was, "We don't have to tell you, we could be buying property."

Mayor Mead: "I do believe we needed to talk to our attorney about attorney client confidential... maybe..."

Citizen: "The subsection was never stated when I asked for it.  Then the other part of this you just said in your opening comments to feel free to contact your Alderman. And in here (Alderman Rieschels letter to the newspaper) it says that "Consistently being on the short end of a 5 to 1 vote should cause one to look at their positions more closely." This disheartens me and concerns me that Miss Horn is being told to vote against what the citizens of this city are telling her, that we like and about our ideas. My concern is that this is encouraging her to not have a voice and not stand up for what the citizens of Buffalo have told her that we want. I just have a concern about that and I don't think that that's correct. There's a comment about "The old fogies getting it right." I agree that there does come some knowledge through experience but I think that new ideas and new comments and new suggestions are all important. They don't always have to be agreed upon they don't always have to be right but as citizens we want our voice to be heard too. And that's what we're asking and we're asking that our voices be heard without being told, "You're not always voting with everybody else so start voting the way we are." Is how I read that. My next question is at the last council meeting there was discussion about a ladder truck that was going to be donated to the city. I came to the special meeting at the end of the month there was an outside conversation about that ladder truck before the meeting. (More city business discussed outside of public meetings.)  However there was not any discussion about the truck during the meeting so my question would be what happened with that?"

Mayor Mead: "That would be a good question for our Fire Chief. Sir"

Fire Chief: "The guy that was going to purchase the fire truck didn't get the bid on the fire truck."

Mayor Mead: "So the person that was going to donate it to the city didn't purchase it?"

Fire Chief: "Correct."

Mayor Mead: "Ok. So it's unavailable to be donated."

Citizen: "Ok those were my comments."

Mayor Mead: "I apologize I didn't get your name."

Citizen gives name.

Mayor Mead: "And do you live here in the city?"

Citizen: "I do."

Mayor Mead: "Any other citizen comments? Yes mam?"

Citizen: "What I hear you and Wayne (Alderman Rieschel) deciding is you don't want people to have any kind of interaction during the meetings unless they pick this specific time. We don't know what you're going to discuss tonight.  (This is true as many meetings I've attended the council discusses items NOT currently on the agenda provided to citizens.) Other than the in general topics that you provide but you don't want us to be able to make any comments at all until a month or two months later during your little section C citizens comments. That doesn't make sense to me."

Mayor Mead: "I guess I could elaborate a little more. If you notice, at the very top of the agenda it says "Board of Alderman Meeting." This is a meeting of the Board of Alderman. The Alderman gather here to discuss business. This isn't a town hall meeting. This is an opportunity for the Alderman to conduct business. We're not going to put our fingers in our ears and shut you out for months at a time. Feel free to call me anytime. Feel free to call your Alderman anytime.  If you hear something tonight and we talk about closing a road, and you're against that, talk to your Alderman after the meeting. Say "Hey I'm against closing that road." Call your Alderman, "Hey I'm against closing that road." We're not telling you we don't want to hear from you. What I'm saying is I would like to run the meeting a little tighter so that we can conduct business without having public discussion. (We're supposed to represent the public... How do you conduct public business without having public discussion???) Alright? Any other questions?"

Alderman Horn: "I don't feel like there's ever been a problem. We discuss and deliberate much more than anyone in the audience ever interjects. That takes up more of the time than I've ever, since I've been coming to meetings for over a year. I've never seen it be a problem. I'm in agreement. And I wasn't asked about this either, this is the first I've heard too of this change."

Citizen: My concern here is, our group spends about $450,000 to $500,000 in discretionary income spending here in Buffalo. We're taking an active role in just figuring it out. To hear that kind of a strategy again about the 5 to 1, I don't think that's what a public official wants to do to shut is shut the public down. The comments of all the meetings I've been to have been pretty open and pretty short, addressed within a minute or two and then you move on. But to come up with a strategy that says, "Lets tighten it up." That's an excuse for cover my ass we don't really want to have a whole lot of people say things or discuss. It doesn't pass the smell test."

Mayor Mead: "I understand and I agree. It's my attempt to make this a more efficient meeting."

Alderman Rieschel: "Let me comment. Have you ever been to a General Assembly? To the General Assembly when they're in session?"

Citizen: "Yes I have."

Alderman Rieschel: "Have you commented?"

Citizen: "Yes I have. I've been asked to speak on the floor."

Alderman Rieschel: "Okay but they asked you to?"

Citizen: "Yes."

Alderman Rieschel: "But when they're in the middle of a session, from the gallery up there, when they're discussing something, you don't raise your hand."

Citizen: "You're comparing apples to oranges"

Alderman Rieschel: "No I'm not. I'm not comparing apples. Have you been to a school board meeting?"

Citizen: "No I have not."

Alderman Rieschel: "That's exactly the way the school board does it. You've got every chance to express your opinion but this is a Board of Alderman meeting and it's for us to discuss and if you're in my zone you're free to come and talk to me about the situation but the Board of Alderman meeting is not the appropriate to have a town hall. You're entitled to your opinion, you've given it, I've given mine now let's move on."

 Citizen: "Again that's what I'm saying. That's your opinion but is that what the people of the city is that their opinion who want to come to this meeting?"

Alderman Rieschel: "Well put your name on the ballot. I'm coming up. If you want to if you're in my zone I welcome you to run."

Citizen: "Ok I'm putting my name on the ballot tomorrow. I'm running for Ward 3. Personally in my idea, everybody in this town has a voice, everybody should be heard. It is not you guys that make the town, it is us as a people as a community that make this town run. If it wasn't for us you wouldn't have these jobs and you shutting us out like this is wrong."

Alderman Rieschel: "Nobody is shutting you out."

Mayor Mead: "We're not shutting you out, you're having your voice heard right now.

Citizen: "Yea I am. But you're wanting to change it. I came here just to listen in and learn what this is all about because I am running and I've never done it before but I can't just sit here and keep my mouth shut. This... the way you're doing this is wrong."

Mayor Mead: "Well for proper decorum once we leave citizen comments I would ask for decorum and I don't want this to be a Jerry Springer show."

Citizen: "It's not going to be a Jerry Springer show I'm putting in how I feel like everybody else did."

Mayor Mead: "Just a quick show of hands how many people have called me outside of a meeting? Was it difficult? Were you able to communicate with me and get answers?"

Citizen: "I would say that I think I understand the closed comments. I didn't need to know about the naked guy in the shower (This was a comment made by Mayor Mead to a citizen) in the camper that went on for about ten or fifteen minutes at the last meeting. Those kinds of things I would agree this is not the place for. I think there have been several of those in the last couple months so I would agree those don't need to enter into this meeting."

Mayor Mead: "But did he speak up under citizen comments?" (The gentleman spoke up saying he had a citizen comment after the time had passed but I don't think he realized when the section had ended. He did state he had a citizen comment before he addressed the council. The mayor said the inappropriate things about him showering naked. The gentleman did not say anything inappropriate and denied the mayors claims. You can see that discussion in this video HERE) If he were to speak up at citizen comments that's fine. That's what citizen comments are for. Yes Mam?"

Citizen: "Isn't there a little more public accountability if we're able to bring it up openly in front of the board and our other common citizens to you, as opposed to calling and you and you squelching an idea we have before you ever bring it here?"

Mayor Mead: "You could bring it up as citizen comments. If you don't like the Locust Street Project..."

Citizen: "Yes but what happens when you guys bring up something after citizen comments and we can't say anything until the next month?"

Mayor Mead: "Well what I'm going to do is I'm going to put citizen comments at the end." (If you think about it... This has the potential to cause meetings to drag on much longer as we will have to GO BACK and readdress things we previously discussed instead of just addressing the comments and concerns during the discussion.) I'll address it again at the end of this meeting and hereinafter it will be at the end of the agenda. Is that ok?"

Citizen: "I don't know, I don't know how the general population feels about it but I was just curious." 

Mayor Mead: "Are there any other comments? Yes mam?"

Citizen: "I've never called you because you and I apparently don't get along face to face. Why would I want to call you?"

Mayor Mead: "I get along with everybody fine." 

Citizen: "You've been pretty hateful and snotty to me before."

Mayor Mead: "I've been nothing but friendly to you."

Citizen: "So I don't feel like I can call you up and talk to you about anything."

Mayor Mead: "Mam you threatened to assault me at one point in time and I smiled and..."

Citizen: "When did I threaten to assault you?"

Mayor Mead: "At the town hall meeting. You said if there were a legal way for me to punch you I would."

 Citizen: "I did not."

Mayor Mead: "And I just kind of chuckled and we went about our business."

Citizen: "I did not ever say that to you."

Mayor Mead: "You most certainly did too."

Citizen: "Oh no I most certainly did not."

Mayor Mead: "I'm sure you didn't mean it but at any rate... You're welcome to contact me by telephone or stop by the law office if I'm there or stop by city hall if I'm here anytime I'd be happy to make time for your concerns."

Citizen: "You're a liar."

Mayor Mead: "Fair enough.  Are there any other citizen comments?"

Citizen: "That didn't go well did it?"

Mayor Mead: "I've been called worse things."

Citizen: "I don't mean that." (I think he was referring to the plan to keep citizens from commenting during the meetings.)

Mayor Mead: "Are there any other citizen comments? Alright..."

You can view this video HERE

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hiding In "Closed Session Meeting..."

Transcription from 1:17:24 to 1:22:36
Buffalo City Council Meeting November 13th 2012
Click Here to View Video

Alderman Stafford: "I make a motion that we go in to... pursuit to... section 610.21 closed meeting for litigation.

Alderman Horn: "I have some discussion on that. It's my understanding that that is in regards to allegations that the city is violating some Sunshine Laws. Mayor Mead specifically requested that I contact the Attorney General and get them involved in educating us because we have a disagreement in regards to an issue that I feel is a violation of the Sunshine Law. Mayor Mead also mentioned that he welcomes scrutiny so I would request that the board leave the meeting open and allow the citizens to be a part of this discussion."

Citizen: "May I ask, is there a legal action against the board?"

Mayor Mead: "No."

Citizen: "Is there a cause of action against the board?"

Mayor Mead: "Well, possibly and that's..."

Citizen: "Is there a cause of action against the board?"

City Attorney: "I'm going to stop this right now. Under 610.021 subsection 1, I'll read it for everybody. Actually I'll read the whole provision. Except to the extent disclosure is otherwise required by law, a public governmental body is authorized to close meetings, records and votes to the extent they relate to the following. Subsection 1, Legal actions comma, causes of action or litigation involving a public governmental body and any confidential or privileged communications between a public governmental body or it's representatives and it's attorneys."

Alderman Horn: "Yes, but it is not a requirement, it's permitted."

City Attorney: "That is correct."

Alderman Horn: "I am requesting that the board allow the audience to participate..."

Alderman Stafford: "I have a motion... I have a motion on the board... I have a motion on the floor."

Mayor Mead: "I'll call for a second and we'll go into..."

Alderman Horn: "I didn't make a motion I was requesting..."

Alderman Rieschel: "I'll second Jess's motion."

Mayor Mead: "Ok we have a motion and a second and I'll open the floor for discussion."

Alderman Horn: "If we indeed do welcome scrutiny and want to be transparent, I do not see any reason we cannot allow the citizens to stay here while we have this discussion."

City Attorney: "I'll say I'm objective and I represent the city but as your attorney if we discuss this in open session, nothing that we say, nothing that I say to you is privileged as far as attorney client privilege goes and I would make your decision as you see fit but I just have to advise you that anything that we discuss in open session will not be privileged."

Alderman Horn: "If we've done nothing wrong then we should have nothing to hide."

Mayor Mead: "Well I agree with both Kristie (Alderman Horn) and Travis (City Attorney). I will state that every time I meet with a client un-equivocally I explain attorney client confidentiality. From time to time they will insist that their mamma sit there with them. I always, depending on the nature of the case urge them to not have mamma sitting there with them. It creates a little bit of tension and a little of hindrance to my client being open and forthright, forthcoming with me.  So I certainly understand the attorney client confidentiality and I think that's important."

Citizen: "Can I ask what the catalyst of the closed session is for those of us who are not aware of what is, what the closed session is even about. I'm assuming it's about the Sunshine Law. How did it come about at this month's meeting as opposed to last months meeting before that? Has something happened?  Has something been addressed? It's my understanding you contacted the Attorney Generals office?"

Alderman Horn: "Yes."

Citizen: "So is that the discussion or has something happened to make this... I guess I don't understand why there is a closed session or what is or could possibly be discussed."

Mayor Mead: "If there are allegations that we need to discuss with our city attorney the Sunshine Law allows us to go into a closed meeting."

Citizen: "I'm assuming that there has been allegations that there's been..."

Alderman Stafford: "We could be going in to buy a piece of real estate."

Alderman Horn: "But we're not because it states litigation..."

Alderman Stafford: "But we do not have to announce the reason."

Alderman Horn: "You have to announce the..."

City Attorney: "You only have to announce the subsection for which it is."

Alderman Horn: "Yes and it says litigation."

Mayor Mead: "Is there anymore discussion? I'll call for a vote."

Jim (Alderman Piper): Aye

Wayne (Alderman Rieschel): Aye

Kristie (Alderman Horn): NO

James (Alderman Ferrell): Aye

Jess (Alderman Stafford): Aye

Mayor Mead: "We'll go into closed meeting."


During the closed session I was sworn at, yelled at and threatened. I am unable to share what was discussed in the closed session.

One last point that I wanted to shine some light on...

During the minutes and bills section of the open meeting I asked why we were paying a city employee for mileage.  You can view this discussion in the same video time stamp 14:13-16:45

I was told there was no vehicle available for this employee to use so we had to pay him mileage to use his personal vehicle.

Later in the meeting it was mentioned that there was an extra truck the street department was not using and was available anytime. Time stamp 40:15 - 46:15 If you go to 46:15 you will hear Alderman Piper state that the department head told him the truck was available at any time.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Classic Example Of "Lack Of Communication...."

This is a  clip from the November 6th article in the Buffalo Reflex.

Mead said he mentioned earlier cleanup efforts in the letters but never directly said the tax would fund such efforts.

“I think this is a classic example of lack of communication and people hearing what they want to hear,” Mead said.

Mead said he can’t point to anything specific he has said that would lead people to think the sales tax was meant to fund cleanup efforts. He said he hasn’t purposely misled anyone and didn’t think he had mistakenly misled anyone.

Here are some specific examples...

602 W. Nixon, Buffalo, Missouri 65622
(417) 848-9951 g


It has been brought to my attention that some of our local businesses are against the proposed half-cent sales tax increase. For the record, I will state that the proposed sales tax is intended, along with other benefits, to directly aid local businesses.

Two successful town hall meetings have resulted in the community loudly and clearly conveying the need to clean up our community and bring jobs to Buffalo. Our citizens are tired of the run down condition of our city and they are tired of seeing their children grow up and move away to find work in other places.

Some things that can bring growth to Buffalo would be an improved appearance of our city and an improved appearance of our school buildings. Maintaining our city parks and an overall cleaning up of our city must be a priority. While our streets are in fair repair, our sidewalks, lighting, appearance of our city buildings, and green spaces need much improvement. There are many federal programs which provide funds to enhance these projects but most require the city to provide matching funds. A modest and temporary sales tax increase would allow the city to move forward in this endeavor. New projects along with the current cleanup efforts will improve not only the functionality of our city, but the marketability of our city as we seek new economic growth.

Scare tactics are flooding the rumor mill that people are willing to drive to other communities to avoid the added tax and thereby save fifty cents on their $100.00 purchase, but these are simply doomsday scare tactics. If this were the case, then we would have already seen an increase in our sales as Buffalo's tax rate is less than most neighboring cities. (See enclosed brochure)
Where actual city tax is concerned this might be true but Dallas County as a whole has higher taxes than it's neighboring counties... This is a misleading statement... Fact Check Here.

As business owners (I, too, operate a business in Buffalo) we are taught to respect capitalism and to compete in the economy. A healthy market is characterized by competition and growth. Our economy is no longer growing. As a business owner, I ask you to look around Buffalo. Who are your competitors? Do you have competitors? Have your competitors died out? Is your business slowly dying out?

I have worked diligently through town hall meetings, the creation of an Aesthetics Committee, the creation of an Economic Development Committee, meetings with economic developers and community planners and with our Aldermen. The proposed half cent sales tax increase is not intended to fruitlessly burden our community, rather it is intended as a conservative investment in our community that will pay dividends for our future.

In order to bring jobs back to Buffalo, we must compete with surrounding communities. A cleaner and safer Buffalo can compete with our neighboring cities who already charge a higher rate of tax. The proposed half cent sales tax increase will only last three years and will help us to catch up with our surrounding communities. When we compete for job growth, we compete against our neighbors.

Again, I ask you to reflect on our community. Think about what you see outside of your building. Think about how our neighbors keep their community. While we have an abundance of pride here in Buffalo, we have failed to maintain and preserve the world around us. Maintenance and growth in our infrastructure will lead to growth in our economy. Growth in our economy will lead to more money in your pocket.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Not A Grant...

At the October 8th Buffalo City Council meeting the Board of Alderman was presented with a proposal for King Coltrin of Great River Associates to write us a grant.  You can view the discussion HERE beginning at time stamp 48:08.

During the discussion I made a motion to table the matter until we had read the grant application. There was no second and the motion died. The council then approved to pursue the grant and pay $600 to have it written, without having seen what the restrictions or requirements would be.  At the meeting I was told by Mr. Coltin to go to MODOT's website and look up "LPA Transportation Enhancement Applications." This is what I found. 2012 Transportation Enhancement Program

The first thing I noticed at the bottom of page four, under the heading "Important Information for Applicant" was that this is not actually a grant. "This program reimburses the project sponsor for costs incurred.  It  is not a grant and does not provide money up front." The city of Buffalo will have to have $300,000 up front to spend and then be reimbursed.

The next thing I saw was, "All projects will go through a competitive bid process for the majority of the construction.  In some cases, a portion of the construction may be done by volunteer or public forces." The city has been able to save a considerable amount of money on the Locust Street project by hiring city employee's to do the work. This has allowed the city to not pay prevailing wage... This is the same idea proposed to be used for future projects... including this one. Any projects we intend to use these funds for will have to be bid out. Yes we may be able to do a portion of the work ourselves but I think this clause rules out doing the entire project "in house."

I haven't read the entire application yet. These are just a few things that jumped out at me as things the council may have wanted to consider before voting to spend $600 of taxpayer money to submit an application... All it would have taken was an email with the link to the information I've provided, or a printout included in our council packet...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Follow Up Report On Budget & Spending...

On September 24th the Buffalo City Council met and voted 5 to 1 to pass an ordinance to revise the budget for the fiscal year 2011/2012.  I questioned the process and was told the budget was revised for departments that went over budget. When I noticed that some departments had not gone over budget, but still had their original amounts raised I asked why. The police department with an original budget of $404,859 was revised and raised to $429,477. The actual spending did not go over the original budgeted amount so the first answer to my question did not make sense...

(You can view the transcripts of these meetings in previous posts on this blog.)

The next answer I was given was the police department budget was raised because we purchased police cars.  At our city council meeting on October 8th the administration wanted to clarify the spending questioned at the previous meeting.  This is the report given...

"I would like to take this opportunity to explain how I came up with the budget adjustments that were proposed at last month's meeting:
a. The $40,483 that was left for the Mayor to determine the best use for was transferred to: Administration Capital of $3,900 (two computers and artwork), Police Department Capital of $2,050 (Records management system which discussed with the Board in January), Animal Control Capital of $3,300 (rebuilt engine), Fire Department Capital of $2,136 (pager and radio), Community Center Capital of $4,500 (2nd coating for outside of building.) That left $24,597.
b. The Board authorized the following which were not in the original or revised budget: Nuisance enforcement approved in April of $3,504 (Administration wages and benefits), kennel assistant approved in July of $4,215 (Animal Control wages), Durango approved in June of $12,595 (Fire Department Capital), Community Building painting approved in October of $4,800 (Community Center Capital), Repairs to Airport Building of $6,636.37 which were approved in June and August (Airport Repairs increased by $5,500), Concession Stand/ Restroom approved in July at an estimated cost of $30,000 (Park Capital). Those items total $60,614.
c. Overspending in the following departments: Animal Control supplies were over budget with the August bills ($3,000 increase), Pool electricity was over budget with June bills but netted it against wages, O'Bannon Center supplies went over budget with June bills ($500), O'Bannon Center electricity went over with September bills ($1,000), Park supplies was over budget with the June bills but netted it with concessions and trophies, Maintenance of Old Park went over with the June 25th payment of bills ($1,800), Vehicle maintenance in Park went over budget with the May bills ($1,000). This total over budget was $7,300.
d. In order to close the budget year $52,628 had to either be cut from someone's budget or revenue increased.  Therefore sales tax was raised by $12,000, Police Department benefits were cut by $5,432, Street Department wages was cut by $16,311 and benefits by $9,843 and the Fire Department capital was rounded up by $263."

I do not see any mention of POLICE CARS in the administrative report. If you watch the September 24th video HERE (time stamp 14:42), you will see the whole conversation revolved around those police cars. At one point Mayor Mead actually says "and that probably.. the police cars... the program for the police department was something that probably... most likely came out of that discretionary fund." (time stamp 23:18) Mayor Mead was under the impression that he had authorized the purchase of the two police cars through the mayors discretionary fund. This would tack on an extra $30,050 to his discretionary spending bringing the total up to $45,936 which is over the budgeted amount. Why was this omitted from the report?

The total amount AS OF AUGUST 2012 spent on Capital items in the General Revenue was $81,917.06. I don't have the totals for the year because the board was not given the same financial information for September that we've received every other month. I am assuming the amount will be more, as there will probably be bills from the concession stand in the September actual's.

I do have an update on the inventory for Park Concessions. I was given a stack of papers that included, receipts and daily counts of items. It will take me a day or two to figure up the profits or losses on concessions based on the information I was given.

As I am given more financial information I will continue to post updates on what I find.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Letter From An Alderman...

I recently submitted a, "Letter To The Editor" of the "Buffalo Reflex." Unfortunately the financial information became jumbled in the process and it's actually incorrect in the printing of the paper... I believe this was my error not the Reflex's. I had to revise and shorten the letter and in the process of cutting and pasting I jumbled the numbers.  In an effort to clear this up I am re-posting the letter here.  My original letter had to be revised because it was quite long so I'm also posting the full length original letter.

My point in writing these is to bring awareness to the people in Buffalo. I tried to show this to the council and mayor. It was partially ignored by half of the council and the mayor. I have concern's that if we continue down the road of deficit spending the inevitable conclusion will be to raise taxes. As a citizen I don't want to pay higher property taxes... I'd rather address the problem and find ways to cut spending, not ignore the problem until it's too late.

Revised Letter to the Editor October 3rd 2012

I would like to begin this letter by saying I am a human being.  I am imperfect and have been known to make mistakes. If I have made mistakes in the process of coming to the conclusions that I’ve arrived at, I will gladly receive courteous correction. I love Buffalo and want to see our community grow and prosper. We can only achieve our goals if we work together, respectfully and honorably.

Prior to the September 10th city council meeting I was looking over the information I received in my council packet.  Included in this packet was an ordinance proposal from our city administrator to “change the budget section to how it is being done.” When I looked up the current ordinance I found that the Board is supposed to review expenditures and estimates from the past 2 fiscal years. These findings led me to request the actual data on revenue and expenditures for 2010 and 2011.  I am not an accountant and the printout’s I was given were not easy for me to understand. I simply took the total revenue line and subtracted it from the total expenditure line.  These numbers are only in regards to General Revenue.

Total Revenue +$1,042,787.21
Total Expenditures -$1,128,180.77
Difference -$85,393.56

Total Revenue +$1,113,080.22
Total Expenditures -$1,239,330.38
Difference -$126,250.16

As of August 31st 2012
Total Revenue +$1,002,837.95
Total Expenditures -$1,196,727.25
Difference -$193,889.30

At our September 24th meeting I had more questions in regards to why the 2012 budget was being revised. I am a new alderman and I won’t learn if I don’t ask questions. I was told we had to raise the budgeted amounts to match what we actually spent if we went over budget. My next question was then, why did we raise the budgets for departments that did not go over budget and why did we take one category and dissolve it into the other departments without accounting for where it went? The answers I was given did not answer my questions and some questions were outright ignored. It was evident that the council did not understand the budget, some members thought we’d actually cut the budget when in fact it has risen $64,140.  It only appears to be smaller because last year’s deficit spending used up half of the reserves. We started our budget work showing a deficit of -$66,650, and by the time the budget was passed we had a surplus of $2,950 in spite of the fact that we spent considerably more than we brought in. How can that be?

How can I represent the citizens who elected me if I am not given honest answers to my questions and adequate financial information? I am committed to work for the well being of our town. I will not quit asking questions and trying to make educated, responsible decisions. I want to achieve our goals for the future but I am not willing to manipulate and lie to people to do this. We should work together as a team respectfully, and be open and honest with the public. Sowing seeds of discord within the community is not going to lead to unity.

In my goal to keep this letter as brief as possible, I have left some things unsaid. It was not an effort to mislead. You can view the city council meetings or read the transcripts by visiting If you do not have internet access I will gladly make you a copy of the transcripts. 417-770-5005. 

Original Letter

I would like to begin this letter by saying I am a human being.  I am imperfect and have been known to make mistakes. If I have made mistakes in the process of coming to the conclusions that I’ve arrived at, I will gladly receive courteous correction. I do not believe that I have insulted any individual in the process of sharing the information that causes me concern. If any individual takes offense to my questions and desire to promote open and honest government, I am sorry but my allegiance is to the citizens who are affected by said government. I love Buffalo and want to see our community grow and prosper. We can only achieve our goals if we work together, respectfully and honorably.

As a new alderman, I was of the mind that the city had money to do a lot of things that just weren’t being done. I had been going to town hall and city council meetings before I was elected and from hearing the “talk” at these meetings, I made an uneducated assumption.  When you sit in a meeting and hear the city has $700,000 in a fund just sitting around it is frustrating when you look around and see needs not being met. I was also of the mind that we had a mayor that wanted to do wonderful things in Buffalo and the board of alderman refused to support him. This assumption was also not completely accurate.

When the Board of Alderman began working on the budget for the next fiscal year, we were given budget work papers that consisted of, proposed revenue and spending for the 2013 fiscal year, the budget amounts for revenue and spending for 2012, actual spending as of July 24th 2012 and a list of capital requests from department heads. The expenditures in this original budget work exceeded the revenues by $66,650.00. During our first budget meeting I was still of the mind that the city had money to do a lot more than it’s doing. I did not understand what the “carryover” was in the budget. I was also being told that our city administrator is “one of those coupon people and just doesn’t want to spend any money.” You can view the budget meetings online and see that I was asking questions and trying to understand. What began to cause me concern were the answers given didn’t answer my questions.

At the second budget meeting on August 27th, I questioned the parks concessions. I asked why the city did not keep an inventory for this category. My understanding is we should have a list with cost of goods sold, total sales and remaining balance of inventory. When I was told that they did this I asked to see it. I was given a list from 2008 and 2009 that wasn’t even an inventory.

The board was also given a detailed list of expenditures from the Street and Parks departments. This list consisted of the 2012 amount budgeted along with the actual spending as of July 31st 2012. At each monthly council meeting we are given a financial statement that includes the budgeted amount for spending and revenue, along with actual's for the month and year to date. When I compared the detailed expenditure lists with my July end of month financials, I noticed the numbers didn’t match.  For instance the detailed list said we had spent $20,134.78 on supplies and materials as of July 31st 2012. My monthly financial report said we had spent $18,645.75 as of July 31st 2012.  When I asked why this was, I was told the detailed list included the bills that were paid in August. I then asked the question, “So this is not actual spending as of July 31st 2012?” This is the exact response I received, “They’re going to be different because it does include bills that were paid in August because they were spent in July.” My conclusion is either the board of alderman is not receiving correct actual spending amounts in our financial reports every month, or the actual's in the detailed list were not as of July 31st 2012.

The Friday before our September 10th city council meeting I was looking over the information I received in my council packet.  Included in this packet was an ordinance proposal from our city administrator to “change the budget section to how it is being done.” When I looked up the current ordinance I found that the Board is supposed to review expenditures and estimates from the past 2 fiscal years. We had been given just 7 months of actual's from 2012. These findings led me to request the actual data on revenue and expenditures for 2010 and 2011.  I am not an accountant and the printout’s I was given were not easy for me to understand. I simply took the total revenue line and subtracted it from the total expenditure line.  These numbers are only in regards to General Revenue.

Total Revenue +$1,042,787.21
Total Expenditures -$1,128,180.77
Difference -$85,393.56

Total Revenue +$1,113,080.22
Total Expenditures -$1,239,330.38
Difference -$126,250.16

As of August 31st 2012
Total Revenue +$1,002,837.95
Total Expenditures -$1,196,727.25
Difference -$193,889.30

At our September 24th meeting I had more questions in regards to why the 2012 budget needed to be revised. I am a new alderman and I won’t learn if I don’t ask questions. I was told we had to raise the budgeted amounts to match what we actually spent if we went over budget. My next question was then, why did we raise the budgets for departments that did not go over budget and why did we take one category and dissolve it into the other departments without accounting for where it went? The answers I was given did not answer my questions and other times I was given no answer at all. It was evident that the council did not understand the budget, some members thought we’d actually cut the budget when in fact it has risen $64,140.  It only appears to be smaller because last year’s deficit spending used up half of the reserves. We started our budget work showing a deficit of -$66,650, and by the time the budget was passed we had a surplus of $2,950 in spite of the fact that we spent considerably more than we brought in. How can that be?

How can I represent the citizens who elected me if I am not given honest answers to my questions and adequate financial information? I am committed to work for the well being of our town. I will not quit asking questions and trying to make educated, responsible decisions. I want to achieve our goals for the future but I am not willing to manipulate and lie to people to do this. We should work together as a team respectfully, and be open and honest with the public. Sowing seeds of discord within the community is not going to lead to unity.

In my goal to keep this letter as brief as possible, I’m sure I have left some things unsaid. It was not an effort to mislead. You can view the city council meetings or read the transcripts by visiting If you do not have internet access I will gladly make you a copy of the transcripts. 

Kristie Horn
Buffalo Alderman Ward 1

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

City Raises Budget In Spite of Deficit Spending...

Below is a transcript of part of this video Section 14:45-48:26
Buffalo City Council Meeting September 24th 2012
My Comments Are In Red

Mayor Mead: Next thing on our agenda, is our revised budget for fiscal year September 30th of twelve. This was last years budget that's been revised to meet actual's.

Alderman Horn: So... I have a question. I have a lot of questions. Why do we revise the budget? Can you explain that?

City Administrator: Because if any department is over budget and you don't revise the budget, then you get a nix on your audit report that says you're not meeting your budgetary requirements, for budgeting things before you purchase them.

Alderman Horn: So... Why did we not just raise the categories that went over budget? There's other things that didn't go over budget that got raised and there's something to do with this mayor's discretionary fund,  that has disappeared. It was in the budget but...

City Administrator: Because I moved it to the capital where the people, where the money was actually spent.

Alderman Horn: Why?

City Administrator: Because that, any capital items need to be accounted for in the department that spent the money. I tallied up $81,917.06 that was already included in the actual capital amount spent in each department, as of August 2012.

Alderman Horn: So we didn't account for whenever the mayor's discretionary was used, we didn't account for that in a different category? So that we would know.

City Administrator: No it went into each departments capital items. Because that $40,000 was the money that was left to spend capital wise and the board gave the mayor the authority to decide how those items were going to be used throughout the year, last year.

Alderman Stafford: Whoa back up.

City Administrator: K

Alderman Stafford: The 40,000 discretionary fund the board had the decision on how it was to be spent?

City Administrator: Not really.

Alderman Stafford: That's right no.

Mayor Mead: Let me explain procedurely what, how that happened. This year we were in the red, we had to account for $66,000.  Last year we had $40,000 on the plus side. So instead of the board going through everyone's wish list and deciding whether or not Roger got two reams of paper, or whether Gus got a ream and a half a piece paper, the police department got half a ream of paper, the board voted, and I didn't get a vote on that, the board voted five to one, that we're not gonna spend meeting after meeting, hour after hour, deciding what department gets what.  We're going to let the mayor decide what department gets what, as needs arise in the fiscal year. My point in asking is if we have a category in the budget I'd like to see when we have expenditures in that category.  This particular category was actually dissolved into the budget with no actual figures given in regards to how it was spent.

Alderman Stafford: So Debby (City Administrator) you took the mayors discretionary fund from 0 and spread it through the other departments?

City Administrator: It was put in the, to go with the capital where it was spent yes.

Alderman Stafford: So he still has the authority to do what he wants to with the cities money, without council approval?

Mayor Mead: No authority was ever vested.

Alderman Stafford: I'm not going to vote for this, I'll tell ya why. Until the mayors, the ordinances are put in place, and we know exactly how much authority the mayor's got to spend, this ordinance as far as I'm concerned, this budget can set here till Christmas. Because I mean, the rest of you can pass it, you can do whatever you want to, but I want to know, I don't want to come up with $3,000 worth of paintings again on a bill for us to approve. This council still has the authority, the binding authority elected by the people to make sure that their dollars are spent in a good trustworthy way.  I'm not going to approve this budget until such time as I know how much money we've spent. And who's got the authority to spend it.

Alderman Horn: I guess what raised my concerns was the budget for the Administration was $269,954 we've raised it in the revised budget to $277,358 but the actual spent as of August, (which I realize there will be more in September) was $233,378. So why did we raise that one if we didn't go over?  That goes on with the Police Department the same thing. As of August 31st we still had $36,576 remaining in the administration budget.  The amount actually spent in August was $13,737.97.  It didn't go over unless we spent $36,576 in September so why raise it $7,404?

City Administrator: Well it was raised because Risa (New Employee) was hired so I added her to the salaries under admin and I added the capital expenditures of $3,000. I didn't touch anything else besides where the board had decided or the mayor had decided to spend the money. There were already capital expenditures of $3,900.34 accounted for as of August 31st 2012 so this does not answer the question.

Alderman Horn: And as far as the police department the budget was $404,859 they spent $340,848 and we've raised it to $429,477. Again the police department had $64,010.71 remaining in their budget as of August 31st 2012.  They spent $27,584.44 in August.  One additional officer was hired.  Unless they spent $64,010.71 in September I don't see a reason to raise their budget $24,618.

City Administrator: Because we raised it for the capital items for the police cars that were purchased. The capital for police cars $30,035.44 is included in the August actual figures of $340,848.29

Alderman Horn: Purchased?

City Administrator: With the boards authority.

Alderman Horn: When?

City Administrator: When did you guys purchase police cars? I don't have a clue. Police cars were purchased before I was elected in April 2012... The bill has been paid and would be (or should be) included in the actual's that each council member is given monthly.

Alderman Stafford: We purchased those last year why put them in this years budget?

City Administrator: Because they were in this last years, this is last years revised budget.

Mayor Mead: This is last years Jess (Alderman Stafford)

Alderman Stafford: But we're approving this years budget.

Alderman Horn: Yes but they would be in this total spent. This is the actual's spent.

Alderman Stafford: This is the budget that we're going to live by for the next 12 months.

City Administrator: No this is the budget we're going to live by for the next nine days. No I'm sorry six days. To close out this fiscal year. This revised budget was increased $40,000

Alderman Stafford: Where's the budget for next year?

City Administrator: This one, it's next.

Alderman Horn: So we haven't approved to buy any police cars in the next nine days.

City Administrator: No

Alderman Horn: We already bought those.

City Administrator: You already bought the police cars I'm just trying to fix your accounting to account for the fact that you bought the police cars. The line item for capital improvements of $30,035.44 is accounted for in the capital line item that is on my printout for August... 

Alderman Horn: Then why

City Administrator: Because you did not revise your budget when you made the motion to purchase the police cars.

Alderman Horn: Ok I know but when did we purchase the police cars? Would it be in our actual's that are on this, what I got for the August meeting?

City Administrator: It should be I don't remember when the police cars were purchased.

Alderman Horn: Because it says $340,000 was spent for the police department and we've raised that in this revised budget to $429,477.

City Administrator: Because we, I didn't look at every single line to see exactly how much money they were going to spend for the rest of the fiscal year.  I just corrected the lines that were out of, that were gonna be out of balance for the year, meaning the police cars that were purchased and then.

Alderman Horn: What I'm saying is if we already purchased the police cars it would already be in this actual amount.

Alderman Stafford: Was that the $26,000 we spent on vehicle maintenance?

Audience Member: I have a question the very first number that Kristie Horn

Mayor Mead: Let's hold off

Audience Member: shot out is that the original number you guys had on your budget and you just changed it?

Alderman Horn: The original budgeted amount for, just say police department was $404,859. It's been raised for the revised budget to $429,477. As of August 31st this says that we spent $340,848.29 in the police department category. So I'm just asking why we've raised it, raised their budget so much in this revised budget?

City Administrator: Because it was raised based on individual purchases big capital purchases those police cars. I don't know what exactly has been spent on the police department.  Last month in the what you guys approved..

Alderman Horn: Well unless we approved to buy police cars in September it should be in this August actual's.

City Administrator: No because you paid bills the first of September. And you've also been paying wages. The police cars were purchased before April 2012.. the figures are in the actual's... 

Alderman Horn: But we didn't buy police cars...

City Administrator: No

Alderman Ferrell: We've had them three, four or five months.

Mayor Mead: And that probably will, was the police cars, the program for the police department was something that probably most likely come out of that mayor's discretionary fund. The capital amount of $30,035.44 is already included in the actual spending of $340,848.29

Alderman Stafford: Are you saying Debby (City Administrator) that the $404,000 to the $429,000 is basically salaries?

City Administrator: I don't even have the right... Let me go grab the right minute book cause I don't even have the right minute book. The question goes unanswered.

Alderman Horn: The August actual's say that we spent $27,584 for the police department. So I'm just going to assume that those are for salaries and maybe... We did hire another officer so it would be a little bit higher but they still had $64,000 left in their budget. So I don't understand why we've raised this unless we spent over $64,000 in their budget because they didn't go over.

Alderman Stafford: That $429,000 and $277,000 is for next years budget.

Alderman Horn: That's what they want to revise 2012 to.

Conversation is held in regards to the budget being discussed.
Waiting for City Administrator to re-enter the room...

Alderman Stafford: Where did this $30,000 come from I mean where did it go?

Alderman Rieschel: Which page are you on?

Alderman Stafford: I'm on page two. It says capital expenditures of $30,050. The original budget was $0 and the revised budget is $30,000 what constitutes the other $30,000?

Mayor Mead: Probably the two police cars. They were around $14,000 to $15,000 apiece.

Alderman Horn: But whenever we purchased those police cars it would have been in the bills that we approved and it would have showed up in our actual's. We have, we're given each month the approved budget, the August actual's or month to month actual's, and the total for the year.

Mayor Mead: Maybe it came from the mayor's discretionary fund. I think is where that came from.

Alderman Horn: What?

Mayor Mead: Maybe it came from somewhere else in the budget.

City Attorney: I think what Kristie's (Alderman Horn) asking is when would the, when was the payment for the car made by the city and I think that it was before August is what...

Alderman Stafford: It was way prior to that because they purchased the police cars for the police department prior to the time that I came.

Alderman Horn: That's what I was thinking. Because I don't recall ever doing that.

Alderman Stafford: We didn't.

Alderman Horn: So that bill would have been paid.

City Attorney: That's right.

Alderman Stafford: Right. The bill was paid. My question is how come it just now shows up? I'm not arguing the $30,000. I mean if the $30,000 is two police cars, it's two police cars but why did it not come out on the actual expenses on a monthly basis? Why did it come up at the end of the year? Is that what you're asking?

Alderman Horn: I don't think it did. I think it is in this actual amount and my question is why are we increasing the police departments budget so much when they did not go over? They didn't need to have that increased. The community center went over budget, the airport went over budget, I believe the Fire Department possibly will and the recycling no no the Fire Department and the Pound possibly will because they're very close. But those were the only things that I seen that went over budget and I was just wanting to know why we're revising the budget and raising these other departments when they didn't actually go over?

Alderman Rieschel: The bottom line is when they audited us, we passed. The money that we have spent the last year is gone. It's been spent. We're not for last year, we're doing nothing more than Debby (City Administrator) is having what we spent match our budget. We're not voting to spend any money. When the auditor comes down here and looks at the books I'm not going to be there. I don't have a problem with it adjusting last years budget. Debby has been working at this all year long.

City Administrator: Ok, so like for the police department if based on the bills that have been paid out as of today based on what's in the glt which does not come even close to matching the numbers that you have it's $368,914 And then you add on one more payroll that's gonna take it up to $381,788. This amount is still not over the budgeted amount for the police department so my question still stands... Why are we raising it? I did not do that for every department because it's very time consuming it took me five minutes and I could have easily missed something and if I would've done this a week ago to have put this together for the budget you're talking two more days of work just to get the numbers exact. I was just trying to take the capital items and put them back into the budget. The only other way around this is anytime you guys decide to spend something that you  did not budget we need to stop every month and do a new budget. Because this is what happens when you all make motions to spend stuff that isn't in the budget. We have to revise it at the end of the fiscal year to clean it up.

Alderman Horn: Ok the largest amount of money that I heard you say and you said it really quick I couldn't write it down it's still not over $404,859 that was budgeted for the police department. So my question is, why then are we raising their budget in the revised budget to $429,477?

City Administrator: Because no one told me to go back and figure out exactly what each department spent for the fiscal year so we cold make sure they were within budget.

Mayor Mead: So we budget a little bit over that way we...

City Administrator: I just changed the capital items or any line that was majorly over budget to fix it so we could pass the new budget so we could move on to the next year. I didn't go through every line by line because that would be extremely time consuming to go through every line and anticipate their purchases for the next, I mean if I did it a month out when the budget ended that makes me have to anticipate purchases, anticipate payroll, for a one month period. It's very time consuming.

Alderman Horn: So your first answer that that was for the police cars was not correct?

City Administrator: No that is correct it is that's what was increased for was the police cars under the capital items. $30,050.

Alderman Horn: Which was paid when?

City Administrator: Let me grab the minute book.
The question goes unanswered.

Alderman Rieschel: Mr. Mayor I'll make a motion we revise last years budget as submitted.

Mayor Mead: Is there a second?

Alderman Piper: I'll second it.

Mayor Mead: We have a motion... Miss Polston? (City Administrator)

City Administrator: Did somebody second it?

Mayor Mead: Yea we have a motion and a second I'll call for a roll.

Alderman Stafford: Now this is last years budget we're just balancing last years budget?

Alderman Rieschel: You're exactly right. I don't want to make a career out of last years budget.

Alderman Rieschel, Stafford, Hicks, Ferrel, Piper vote Yes

Alderman Horn: vote No.

2013 Fiscal Budget

Mayor Mead: The next item on our agenda is the budget for fiscal year 9/30/13 We have a budget attached to this agenda which is next years budget. It does not have that mayor's discretion that Mr. Stafford commented on. Does anyone have an alternative budget to present?

Alderman Horn: I do not have an alternative budget but I do have something I wanted to show you just to explain why I'm making the decision I'm making. I won't take a lot of your time but I'll hurry.

Mayor Mead: Well we haven't called for a vote yet.

Alderman Horn: That's right, I would like to present why I feel the way I feel if that's all right with you.

Mayor Mead: I yield the floor.

Alderman Horn: I asked Debby (City Administrator) if she would please give me some actual figures for the last two years. I'm not an accountant but I do want to try to make a good educated decision. What I was given were these two forms and I took the total revenue which is here, and I also took the total expenditures which is here on both of them if you would like to see them. Now I put them together and printed these for you if you would like to look at it I just wanted everyone to understand that I am not trying to cause problems. I just feel that we have not considered this current budget in an educated manner. We spent as of, in 2010 we spent over what we made $85,393. From what I understand from these that I was given from Debby. In September 2011 I understand that we overspent by $126,250 and then this past year it's my understanding that we overspent as of $193,889.  That's over what we brought in.  I know we have a carryover, maybe we have extra money in the bank somewhere else, maybe you don't care, it's ok. I just wanted to share it with you as to why I will not vote for this budget. And that's all.
As of August 2012 the cities revenues were $1,002,837.95.  The 2012/2013 proposed revenue is $1,065,500. 

City Administrator: Do you have a copy for the minute book?

At the end of September 2010 
Total Revenue +$1042,787.21
Total Expenditures -$1,128,180.77
Difference -$85,393.56

At the end of September 2011
Total Revenue +$1,113,080.22
Total Expenditures -$1,239,330.38
Difference -$126,250.16

At the end of August 2012 (1 Month Remaining in Fiscal Year)
Total Revenue +$1,002,837.95
Total Expenditures -$1,196,727.25
Difference -$193,889.30

Alderman Horn: Yea you can have, I'll get you one. I am not an accountant I could have made lots of mistakes and I probably did but this is my understanding from what I received and I'll base my vote on that.

Alderman Stafford: Let me ask you this Kristie, did you put the sewer and water expenditures in this?

Alderman Horn: No this is just General Revenue. I didn't look at anything else.

Alderman Rieschel: And I assume Locust street is in here?

Alderman Horn: No that's just General Revenue.  I didn't do Transportation Fund or Water and Sewer Fund at all.

Alderman Rieschel: Mr. Mayor may I comment?

Mayor Mead: Yes

Alderman Rieschel: Kristie do you have a suggestion on cuts on our budget?

Alderman Horn: I would have liked to have us discuss that together and work together on it. I do not feel like I should be doing that by myself.

Alderman Rieschel: You know we went through the budget I think as meticulously as we could. We removed phones and we're just about in my opinion down to the essentials. Where you cut salaries, what do you do now? I don't think that would be a very popular idea. The city and part of it I assume is the economy.  As long as we can afford not to make those cuts this year it's my opinion that we shouldn't. We may get to the point where we have no choice. But to cut drastically it's just my opinion from what I've seen that we've cut every non emergency thing that we can cut and if there's anybody on the council that has something else that we can cut I'd like to know what it is.  Otherwise I don't know that we have a lot of choice at this point and I know you make the motion before you have the discussion on the budget so I'm going to make a motion, is the salary part of the budget Debby?

City Administrator: No it's a separate.

Alderman Piper: Wayne (Alderman Rieschel) I can't see cutting salaries but I do think there's about three or four people that's not productive enough. I won't mention the names here, I won't go into it but I think them people not being productive enough is the reason for requiring more help.

Alderman Rieschel: We've talked about a system of reporting to supervisors, grading if you will employee's. We do not have that in effect at this time. Before we start dropping the ax or dropping salaries, I don't practice employment law, I never did. But I think a drop in wages is considered a demotion is it not?

City Attorney: It is. Missouri's also an employment at will state.

Alderman Rieschel: Yea that's true. (?) I agree with you Jim (Alderman Piper) That we may need to look if there's some dead weight but I don't know if we can do anything about that at budget time. This is something we need to set up for future events.

Alderman Piper: I think it needs to be looked at.

Alderman Rieschel: I don't see anything that, I mean we talked about candy bars. I don't know of anything else, you now we've gotta provide these services we could cut out recycling and save money. But I think it's the consensus of the board that we not do that. We could cut out animal control.

Alderman Piper: Wayne that's another one, that's another place, I never have really disagreed with the council but I am tonight. Let me tell you why.

Alderman Rieschel: In which regard?

Alderman Piper: Animal control. Is it animal control or is it a sanctuary? Let me tell you why I say that. Down here where I'm working now I've been there for two weeks this last week, two mornings I go shoveling fresh dog manure up out of the yard I take it out to the drive and throw it under the whist? The dogs run loose down there. Before that I spent two weeks down north at the north end of town here, Wayne when the sun goes down the mosquito's eat ya up but when the sun comes up, the starved to death cats come up out of those wrecked cars. We're taking care of the one's out at the shelter but are we being fair to the one's that's starving? I guess you gotta find something good about it. The only thing I can find good about it is them starved cats there is no mice and rats down North of town. That's the only good thing I can see about it. But our animal shelter's run like a sanctuary to me.

Alderman Rieschel: Right

Alderman Piper: I'm sorry.

Alderman Rieschel: And I guess tonight we're here to discuss the budget and with that in mind Debby I assume that you feel comfortable with the budget?

City Administrator: This was exactly what we talked about at the end of the last meeting.

Alderman Rieschel: I make a motion we adopt the budget for 2012/2013.

Alderman Horn: My last comment that I would like on the record is that we did not cut this budget. It's actually been raised $61,140 (The actual amount is $64,140 I misspoke) If you take out that carryover amount of $400,000 for this last year, yes we only have $200,000 for this year because we've spent half of it. The bottom line is $61,000 $64,140 more than last years budget.

Mayor Mead: We have a motion is there a second?

Alderman Piper: Yes

Mayor Mead: We have a second, I'll call for a role for vote.

Alderman Rieschel: Before you do... now's the time for discussion if anybody wants to comment.

Mayor Mead: Is there any further discussion?

Alderman Stafford: I have a comment just what I said. I'm not against the budget but I'm not going to let this budget be an open check book to do what you want to without approval of the council. That's it.

Alderman Rieschel: Jess I don't think that it's in there.

Alderman Stafford: No Wayne, it wasn't in last years either. You voted to give discretionary money. I went from a $40,000 surplus to $61,000 deficit.  That's kinda strong. $100,000 swing. I just think there was way too much money spent that are the cities money without approval of the council. I've said my say.

Alderman Rieschel: And I will support you on the vast majority of what you're saying on an ordinance.

Alderman Stafford: Right because the ordinance is the ordinance but this seems to me is a dollar and cents it's an open check book until it's controlled. You gentlemen can pass it, please pass it but I'm not gonna change my mind. As far as I'm concerned about the open check book and city money being spent without the approval of the six people on this council. And that's my right.

Mayor Mead: Is there any other discussion?

Alderman Ferrell: Is there a discretionary fund at this time? Is there a discretionary fund now?

Alderman Stafford: There is none. I'm not saying that the budgets not right. It is the budget and we're going to have to live with it. It's just that I want to see how the dollars are spent on the day to day basis. It's not here. You gotta have the budget and it should be approved but I'm just not gonna do it. Until the ordinances are changed to have more control we've got to go with the budget. Mines just a protest vote, it's just me, it's just.

Alderman Ferrell: When's that gonna come up? I know we worked on it a while back.

Alderman Stafford: We're gonna have to redo it. We're going to have to do it because whenever we get it we have to we're changing about 20 different ordinances I believe was that right?

City Attorney: About six

Alderman Stafford: About six and we had to make sure that the six we were changing were not being changed for the worse. I'm hoping that what we're changing is for the better. So that everything we do is not a discussion a year from now. Its why our budget did not balance. It's a safeguard for the citizens of Buffalo. It's a safeguard for the council. I think you ought to pass the budget. Then I think we better do I think the revisions on the spending ordinances got to be changed. It can be done at a later date. Mines a protest vote. I looked at $3,000 worth of money last Thursday night and I just went bonkers I'm sorry. That's just me. That's my statement call for a second vote for the budget but I've said what I wanted to say.

Mayor Mead: Is there anymore discussion? I will call for a role of the vote.

City Administrator: Wayne:

Alderman Rieschel: Aye

City Administrator: James

Alderman Ferrell: Aye

City Administrator: Jim?

Alderman Piper: Aye

City Administrator: Kristie?

Alderman Horn: No.

City Administrator: Jess?

Alderman Stafford: No

City Administrator: Larry?

Alderman Hicks: No

Mayor Mead: I'll cast the tie breaking vote and the budget is approved.

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