November 21, 2017 Meeting of Newly Elected Salida City Council

Newly elected Mayor PT Wood and newly elected Council Members Dan Shore (Ward 1), Justin Critelli (Ward 2) and Harald Kasper (Ward 3) took their oaths of office to replace outgoing Mayor Jim LiVecchi and outgoing Council Members Hal Brown, Eileen Rogers and Melodee Hallett. The newly elected council members will serve with Council Members Rusty Granzella (Ward 1), Cheryl Brown-Kovacic (Ward 2) and Mike Bowers (Ward 3), whose terms extend to 2019.

The new Council elected Council Member Cheryl Brown-Kovacic as the new Mayor Pro-Tem and appointed Council Member Dan Shore as its representative to the Upper Arkansas Conference of Governments.  Council also filled the vacancies on the City Planning and Zoning Commission, created by the election of PT Wood and Harald Kasper, by appointing alternate commissioner Francie Bomer and applicant Joe Judd to the commission. Jodi McClurkin, CPA, was welcomed as the City’s newly hired Finance and Administrative Services Director.  Prior to the meeting, City Attorney Ben Kahn tendered a 30-day notice of his resignation as Salida city attorney.

NRCDC board president Ron Mazzeo appeared at the meeting and requested a joint work session with City Council to discuss issues continuing from the previous council, including title issues to the Vandaveer Ranch property, a City dry-up request, the Palmer Street right-of-way, an indemnity demand from the city, and reversal of the Divestiture of the NRCDC by the City.

Mayor PT Wood noted three key issues to be immediately considered by the new council:  the 2018 Budget, hiring of an interim or temporary city attorney, and the NRCDC matters.  The continuing issues of TABOR excess revenue and solar-panel contracts were also noted as requiring attention.

Salida City budget under the Mayor’s leadership doesn’t safeguard taxpayers.

Under the leadership of Salida’s current mayor, council approved spending 2.5 million dollars more than the revenue projected for the year in the general fund.  This is shown in the last budget adopted by the City, the 2017 Budget that is on the City’s website, showing the Deficiency of Revenues Under Expenditures for the year 2017 at $2,558,450 (at the top of pdf page 14, budget general fund page 5).  The budget also shows that across all but two small funds, the city is spending more than it has.  In the proposed 2018 budget, the deficiency is distributed across more than one fund and partially into 2018, leaving a 1.15 million dollar deficiency in the general fund. The deficiency is largely due to over-budgeting for streets, which the City Administrator says is unsustainable. According to the City’s auditing firm, a number of “internal control deficiencies” that required correction occurred following the loss of the City Finance Director in early 2016. (See YouTube Video of 10/17/2016 Council meeting at 0:29 to 0:47).

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