Now you see me, now you don't
Transparency. Something so necessary in our local government but is so difficult to find.
Each year, our council sets a budget workshop. During this four-hour meeting, the different department heads get up and go through the highlights of the next year's proposed budget.
Have you ever tried to follow the money? The lack of transparency by our mayor and council means you CANNOT follow the money.
The budget that the council approves, the public sees, and that is published on their website is not the complete budget. For whatever reason, there are many funds that don't make it into the annual budget document.
One of the major capital projects that is NOT included in the budget document is the Public Works Expansion project. This project was approved May 23, 2018 by the city council with a cost of $23.2 million and the Public Works Fund created with funds being transferred out of the Water and Sewer fund and the Capital improvement fund, along with other funds that aren't listed in the budget.
However, when you look through the budget document, there is no fund for the Public Works and Park Maintenance Facility Expansion Project.
The HERO center, the joint venture we have with Cottage Grove for our public safety training, is another fund that you will not find in the budget. Our share of this project is $4.75 million for construction, with continued contributions for the expenses in running the facility.
Government Transparency is the obligation to share things with the public. This is how the citizens hold the government accountable. Without transparency, our local government can continue to spend, tax and assess without accountability.
As council member, I would be transparent in ALL things, including our budget. The more open and transparent the government is, the more accountable they become.