Obama Warns Mayors NOT to Waste Stimulus Money

Filed under: Uncategorized — tkm February 20, 2009 @ 12:0 pm

Yahoo News – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090220/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_mayors

WASHINGTON – Invoking his own name-and-shame policy, President Barack Obama warned the nation’s mayors on Friday that he will “call them out” if they waste the money from his massive economic stimulus plan.

“The American people are watching,” Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House. “They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they’ve earned — they’ve worked so hard to earn — spent in its intended purposes without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud.”

In the days since the White House and Congress came to terms on the $787 billion economic package, the political focus has shifted to how it will work. Obama has staked his reputation not just on the promise of 3.5 million jobs saved or created, but also on a pledge to let the public see where the money goes.

His budget chief this week released a 25,000-word document that details exactly how Cabinet and executive agencies, states and local organizations must report spending. It is a system meant to streamline reports so they can be displayed on the administration’s new Web site, Recovery.gov.

Using his presidential pulpit, Obama demanded accountability, from his friends in local government as well as his own agencies. He said the new legislation gives him tools to “watch the taxpayers’ money with more rigor and transparency than ever,” and that he will use them.

“If a federal agency proposes a project that will waste that money, I will not hesitate to call them out on it, and put a stop to it,” he said. “I want everyone here to be on notice that if a local government does the same, I will call them out on it, and use the full power of my office and our administration to stop it.”

The economic plan will inject a sudden boost of cash into transportation, education, energy and health care. Beyond new spending, it aims to aid people through a package of tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits and short-term health insurance help. The cost will be added to a growing budget deficit.

Obama said government leaders have asked for the “unprecedented trust of the American people.”

“With that comes unprecedented obligations to spend that money wisely, free from politics and free from personal agendas,” he said.

The president did not specify how, exactly, he would call out one of his own agencies or a local government about wasteful projects.

The Truth – Charter Amendment

Filed under: ELECTION,Guest Writer,Uncategorized — tkm February 16, 2009 @ 15:0 pm

From the desk of Larry Essman, CPA

Three false statements:

1. The amendment will require every purchase of $100,000 or more be approved by a vote of the citizens.

Truth: Major purchases may continue to be made from the Capital Improvement Fund [Number 301], the Water Works Capital Improvement Fund [Number 605], the Sanitation Capital Improvement Fund [Number 632], and any designated grant funds such as the Community Development Fund without approval of the voters. The city income tax provided over $1,400,000 in 2008 for capital improvements and major asset acquisitions. These funds were not used to purchase the new fire trucks (as they should have been), but instead additional taxes were imposed on the property owners to fund the fire truck purchases.

Questions to the City:
If additional capital money is needed, why was an increase in the city income tax not submitted to the voters for additional needed funds? How were monies provided in 2008 for major purchases?

2. The amendment will require a majority of the “registered” voters [electors] to approve the issuance of bonds.

Truth: The terms “voter” and “elector” are considered synonymous. A simple majority of those voting will approve the issuance of bonds. No court has held or would ever uphold that a majority of the registered voters would be necessary.

3. The amendment will impair the bond rating of the City.

Truth: Bonds are used to raise large amounts of funds. They are normally paid over 15-25 years. They impose taxes on future generations. Such major decisions should be made by approval of the citizens. Bonds are normally not used for short term financing such as the City used them (one year for a fire truck). Even the County Auditor questioned why the repayment issued to purchase the fire truck was not made over several years.

Charter Amendment

Filed under: ELECTION,Uncategorized — tkm February 4, 2009 @ 12:0 pm

YES TO – NO Frivolous Spending:

YES – 582
NO – 572
6 Provisional’s and 1 Absentee ballot remaining to count

For more information:

CLICK:  http://sites.google.com/site/sciotocountyboe/

CLICK: http://sites.google.com/site/sciotocountyboe/Home/election-results

With the passage of this Amendment some (a minority) say it will now require Special Elections to run the City; this is not true. Council needs to do what they were elected to do; run the City efficiently, effectively and with a plan. This Amendment requires City Council to live within a budget or plan for the future. It does not reduce current budgets. Simply the City Council no longer has access to a blank checkbook of up to ten (10) mils annually, from the property owners, to pay off arbitrary debt created from a lack of planning.

The majority of spontaneous spending by Council is for frivolous expenditures at a cost to the taxpayers (property owners). Most of their negligent spending is by suspending the rules and passing the ordinance with no emergency prerequisite. These ordinances are passed with no input from the public; I don’t know about the rest of you but I believe in controlling my checkbook and feel Council should show me the same respect for my money. Currently, to mention just a couple items, Council took improperly collected property taxes to bailout a defunct department store (The Marting Building) for $2 million dollars. They also acquired property on Washington Street (the Adelphia property) from an out-of-state landlord and client of current 1st Ward Councilman Michael Mearan by paying back taxes, and to make possible for the landlord to claim a deduction on his taxes for the next 10 years; to me this appears to be a conflict of interest by Michael Mearan, since this landlord was his client. These types of actions by Council, using the 401 Dept Retirement Fund as a revolving checking account for the whims of Council, now will be stopped with passage of this amendment!!

Most other communities; municipalities; various states and state agencies; and even our Federal Government are taking measures to manage spending by looking at future revenues, but not here in Portsmouth, Ohio.

One last thing, the City of Portsmouth currently has (2) Councilmen Bob Mollette and Rich Noel who are concerned about the community and the people who live there. This year for Portsmouth will be a big election year. We will have the opportunity to go to the polls and bring accountability to our Government. On Election Day we need to show individuals like our Mayor Jim Kalb, our 1st Ward Council member Mike Mearan and our 5th Ward Council member John Haas we want better for Portsmouth. We want change. We demand Accountability! We demand Democracy!

Citizens everywhere, we need to hold our government accountable. We need to stop misspending by a few. We need accountability. We need Democracy.

Get involved Today – It’s never too late!!