Resident wants questions answered about unassigned fund balance use

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Editor's note: While the Rochester City Council is meeting remotely, The Rochester Voice will be publishing public comments. These public comments by Ray Barnett were sent in after the deadline for Tuesday's City Council meeting, which was held remotely. They were released by City Manager Blaine Cox on Wednesday.

Public comment from Ray Barnett

Good Evening.

I would like to start by saying that I respectfully disagree with the mayor with regard to getting answers to some of the questions I have posed at various meetings. It is true that I have spoken with the city manager and the finance director and they have answered some of my questions. And I thank them for taking the time to talk with me.

Unfortunately, there are still a few questions that remain to be answered. I believe they could be answered with a simple yes or no answer. Maybe with a little explanation.

Did the city use the estimated fund balance surplus (exceeding 17%) of $4.5 million dollars to sell, justify spending $4.6 million dollars for various resolutions at the January 7, 2020 meeting?

Did the city use the fiscal year 2019 unassigned fund balance "surplus" of $4.7 million dollars as the basis for providing $1.6 million dollars to the school building capital reserve fund?

When the transfer was brought forward, what was the actual unassigned fund balance at that time? Did $4.7 million dollars in surplus funds (exceeding 17%) exist? I still believe that the city used the same fund to sell two different appropriations.

With regards to the March 31 meeting, I posed some questions to the council. At the finance meeting last week the mayor said that no questions were asked by the council because they understood it all and didn't have any questions. It's apparent that it didn't dawn on anybody that since a taxpayer took the time to submit questions that maybe someone could have asked some of these questions.

It's good the council has the information, but how's about sharing with the taxpayer. You're spending our money. What about transparency? So, here are the questions again about the $100,000 dollar assessing program.

What recourse does the city have against Patriot Properties? How much money did the city pay Patriot Properties for a junk program? Is the city seeking a refund? And last, the $300,000 dollar supplemental appropriation for the Pollution Discharge Permit and Legal Assistance. What is the goal for spending this money? How much money will be spent by the other cities and towns? Are all of the cities and towns paying their fair share?

Ray Barnett,

Crimson Lane, Rochester

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