Manzanita City Budget Committee: An Open letter to David Dillon, Jim Hickey, Terry Staehnke, Phil Mannan and Jim Dopp

You may be aware that I have raised concerns with the Mayor and Council about the misappropriation of Water Fund revenues to pay the salaries and benefits for the City Manager and Assistant City Manager.The response from the City to this point has amounted to denial and the offering of explanations that upon investigation, turn out to be so much nonsense.

As the citizen members of the Budget Committee, you act as a check on the authority of the Council members to insure that both the Budget process and the final Budget document is a legitimate and legally implemented fiscal plan that supports the services of our citizens. I appreciate that your understanding of municipal operations may be limited and you rely heavily upon the explanations of staff and Council members who you perceive to have the knowledge that you may lack in matters such as how our water utility functions.

I am providing you with the information that I have uncovered in the sequence that I discovered it. This includes the various explanations put forth by the City in an attempt to justify their actions after my presentation at the June 5 City Council meeting. There can be little doubt that the information and explanations that you received regarding this matter during the recently completed Budget Hearings for FY 2019-20 were at best incomplete and misleading.

Faced with the overwhelming evidence that the current overhead allocations were inappropriate, the Council as part of adopting the 2019-20 FY Budget on June 26 instructed staff to create a new methodology in time for next year’s Budget development. This does nothing to address the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been misallocated in the past and the $92,600 that can not be justified in the Budget that you just reviewed and recommended for adoption.

I would suggest that each of you have a responsibility to the citizens of Manzanita that outweighs any sense of solidarity or obligation to the Mayor or Council in this matter. As a citizen, I would respectfully request that Chairman Dillon ask that the Budget Committee be reconvened now to have these troubling questions answered. I don’t expect that the Mayor will agree to this, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you made the attempt to further investigate and correct the misallocations in the FY 2019-20 Budget.

Randy Kugler