City grants over budget
RIVERSIDE—The grant reimbursement request from Mary Beth Rozmus to the city council for her residential grant went nowhere at the meeting on Monday, Sept. 16.
“The reason why I’m here is my actual estimate that I provided was slightly less than the bill that was submitted, and so I supplied those bills to Rusty [Rogerson, city administrator] to request additional funding.”
The total amount for her deck came to $7,711.41, Rozmus said. She asked the council to approve the higher amount of $3,855.71, which was half of the bill for the work that was done.
Rozmus’s original grant was approved for $3,419.50, city deputy clerk Lory Young said.
Mayor Bill Poch asked if there was a motion from any of the city councilors to approve the request for the higher amount. When no one spoke up, he asked Rozmus if she had any more questions.
“My understanding was the grant was up to $5,000 that can be approved,” she said. “Is that correct?”
Poch said yes.
Rozmus asked if she was the only person who went over the estimated amount. Poch said he wasn’t aware of anyone else who had. Rozmus argued what she submitted were estimates, and the cost could go over the awarded grant amount easily.
“Again, I don’t know what to tell you,” Poch said. “Pretty much on the grants we’ve awarded we’ve always paid what the grant request had been.”
Rozmus asked why the grant application said up to $5,000 since the council was reluctant to approve her grant for over the original amount requested. Councilor Chris Kirkwood said the reluctance was due in part to the city being over budget in the residential grants. Kirkwood did not say how much the city was over budget.
In the future Rozmus said the council should clarify whether or not the residential grants would be approved for a higher amount if someone, like herself, requests it. Poch said he understood her frustration with the grant process, but eventually a firm will mediate the grant process in the future, which should help to clear up the confusion.
The council also heard a request from Rogerson to take money from the capital funds account to cover commercial grants. He told the council members the downtown area is improving commercially because of the grants.
One example Rogerson gave was Hoard’s Bakery. They have added a third shift and are making improvements to the back of the building they acquired, Rogerson said.
Also, in surveys sent out to residents, including the comprehensive plan survey, the No. 1 thing listed on the survey was improving downtown, and these grants are helping to do that, Rogerson said.
A motion was made to allow the re-allocation of the funds from the capital funds to cover the commercial grants. Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen seconded the motion but asked for what amount. Rogerson suggested the amount of $75,000.
Councilor Nate Kasdorf said he had a problem with this.
“We long exceeded the budget for the commercial grant applications quite some time ago,” Kasdorf said.
He said the commercial grants were a success but the council keeps approving and writing checks for them when it’s putting the city in debt. He said a budget was set and the city needed to stick to it.
Councilor Bob Schneider Jr. said he agreed with Kasdorf about the commercial grants being a success. He said he would like to see funding for the commercial grants to continue.
Councilor Chris Kirkwood said she didn’t agree with approving to have the capital funds account cover the commercial grant requests. She said people make decisions based upon the balances the city has in its accounts, and one hasn’t been provided for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Rogerson said the councilors approved the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year before he was hired. Money has been transferred over to the capital fund for the capital improvements that were previously approved. He also said until the audit was done for the 2012-13 fiscal year, the number for the capital funds account wouldn’t be available.
City deputy clerk Lory Young said the council approved $600,00 for the Cherry Lane project and $240,000 to replace water mains for the 2013-14 fiscal year. She said a budget amendment would have to be done in the spring because no one knows what will happen from now until the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2014. Currently, the city is over by $2,224 for the commercial grants.
There was some confusion about the original motion. Poch called for a vote on the motion to cover the $2,224 and the additional three commercial grants, which were submitted by Hoard’s Bakery for $5,000 and $6,500 for Attitudes in Dance. The motion was denied. Kasdorf, Kirkwood, and councilor Kevin Kiene voted no.
Other items covered at the city council were:
approving the resolutions for grants to be submitted to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation’s (WCRF) fall grant cycle from Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 and the Riverside Ball Association;
approving a resolution to establish a public hearing to vacate an alley the city doesn’t maintain anymore on Stephanie Dlouhy’s property at 80 West Second Street, which will be held on Monday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.;
approving to pay Rogerson for his unused vacation pay, which totaled 72 hours;
approving to publish salary publications in the month of October instead of April;
approving having an agenda item for the city council to meet once a month instead of twice a month, which was requested by resident Phyllis Latta;
and did not approve the commercial grant requests from Hoard’s Bakery for $5,000 or Attitudes in Dance for $5,000 and $1,500. Kiene, Kasdorf, and Kirkwood were the dissenting votes on the motion.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 7, at 6:30 p.m.