There was a show down in town last night. Not at the OK Corral with Gary Cooper but at City of Warren council meeting last night (May 19th at 7:30PM). It was too important to let it pass unnoticed because it was for the fiscal direction of Warren.
At last month's council meeting Warren's city manager announced a budget windfall of $739,345.00 (see ""Where the City 'found' $750K" in WTO on 4-24-2014). After much debate a motion was introduced by Councilman Harvey to use the $224,000 remaining after paying for the 26 Street Paving Project, to pay cash for two dump trucks instead of financing them which would increase their cost by adding interest charges. The motion passed 6:1 in favor (see "Budget windfall enables buying 2 trucks" in WTO on 4-26-2014)
Last night Councilman Fraser introduced a motion to rescind the above resolution and instead finance the two dump trucks and keep the $224,000.00 in the general fund for a "rainy day".
Councilman Harvey argued for a conservative approach to fiscal management: don't keep excessive cash idle in the general fund; don't finance equipment if you have cash; and pay down debt to reduce amount of money paid out as interest.
Mayor Cashman argued for a finance as much as possible approach to fiscal management with the objective of rolling over debt obligations each year so cash will be available for projects needing matching funds-specifically Streetscape II which will be rolled out next month.
Both fiscal management philosophies have their advocates in the business world. The motion to rescind last month's motion was defeated 5:2 this time. The city will pay for the paving project and the two dump trucks using the windfall cash. What about next time?
My fellow Warrenites, please set aside one Monday evening each month and go to the city council meetings. There is only one pot of money and many possibilities for financing projects. It is our city-what is your philosophy of municipal fiscal management?