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Those loyal readers of This Just In will know we’ve been regularly following the $176,000 budget deficit incurred by the office of Councilman Jim Madaffer for the fiscal year that ends June 30.
Despite days of effort, we hadn’t been able to get the councilman on the phone to explain the 21 percent budget overage. We’d just received a couple of e-mails that didn’t address specifics. But the councilman spoke today on the issue at the council hearing in which his colleagues voted 6-2 to accept the year-end budget adjustments. (Donna Frye and Brian Maienschein voted against the adjustments.)
Madaffer said he originally planned to hire Colleen Windsor – former press secretary to former Mayor Dick Murphy – as head of the new Grantville redevelopment agency using the extra tax money that would come available through the new “redevelopment” designation. He said city staff agreed that it would be possible at the time, but after he hired Windsor, he was told by city staff that he couldn’t do so.
So, Madaffer said, he was forced to pick up Windsor’s salary out of his own council budget.
The $176,000 overage was covered by transfers of $120,000 and $26,000 from the district’s infrastructure fund and PC replacement fund, respectively. An additional $30,000 had to come from additional revenue the city received above budget forecasts at the end of the year.
“To state that anything is a deficit doesn’t address the situation,” Madaffer said, adding: “This is something we planned for the entire year.”
He said he had squirreled away the money in the infrastructure and PC funds in earlier years when he had come in under budget. The councilman said he thought it was important to bring someone one to market the Grantville project before it officially goes online (a lawsuit by the county challenging the creation of the district is pending) so that interest is high when it gets going.
“It was important to get this started,” he said.
Going forward into next budget year, Madaffer said he will use a work furlough program and “salary savings” to cover the additional unbudgeted expense in his office.
Councilwoman Donna Frye questioned allowing council members to live beyond their means.
“It’s almost rewarding bad behavior,” she said.
Just type in “Madaffer” into our search feature below and you’ll see the previous updates in this running story.