The Norman Transcript

Government

June 11, 2014

Norman City Council rejects budget cuts

NORMAN — Norman City Council member Robert Castleberry voted against the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, calling it a “breach of fiduciary obligation” because, once again, budgeted expenses exceed anticipated revenue.

The budget passed with a 5-2 vote. Castleberry and Council member Chad Williams voted against adoption. Council members Tom Kovach and Greg Jungman were absent.

By law, the budget must be passed a week prior to the fiscal year end on June 30.

“We do not need to pass this budget tonight,” Castleberry said.

But others saw no reason to delay adopting the budget city leaders have spent months debating and preparing — even though other council members agreed with Castleberry’s concern.

“People will say we shouldn’t spend more than we bring in, but when you ask them what to cut, it’s mostly crickets,” Council member Stephen Tyler Holman said. “People always want us to spend more ... I don’t know how much we’re going to be able to figure out in two weeks.”

The decision for approval came after a long debate over last-minute budget amendments.

A number of budget amendments quickly approved were housekeeping items.

An item funding a $200,000 study to look at a portion of Imhoff Creek not included in the Lindsey Street storm water project was added to the budget at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Kovach had asked for the study as a first step toward remediating erosion on Imhoff, which he said the city contributed toward when it fixed flooding on the south side of Lindsey Street at McGee Drive but didn’t fix it on the north side. That amendment passed unanimously.

Castleberry proposed an amendment cutting $475,000 from the general budget. The wording allowed the city manager the flexibility to make cuts where needed.

The cut would have affected $155,000 from supplies and materials such as asphalt, concrete, chemicals, tools, office supplies and fleet parts. The rest would be cut from service and maintenance and could include seasonal employees, the litter crew, bank service and consulting.

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