Unwise Spending?

At last week’s Town of Winnsboro council meeting, I made comments during the scheduled public comment portion of the meeting. I spoke about three expenses that council either approved or that are being considered. All three of which I think are unwise expenditures. After the meeting some of the council members made comments to the press that were not exactly correct. To clarify the three expenditures, I have used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to review what is in the budget and what is not in the budget, my findings are:

Council has asked for quotes on installing a security system at Town Hall. The 2015/2016 budget has in it a maximum of $13,475 for this expenditure. The bid council has requested are bids up to a maximum of $10,000 for such a system. As the utility office is no longer in this building, and there are now only five full time employees in this building, with nothing of significant value in the building (yes, there are PC’s, printers, copiers, etc., but no cash). As such, it is my opinion this is an unwise expenditure. Council has yet to vote on this expenditure.

Concerning the already approved expenditure of $8,300 for an artificial Christmas tree and decorations, Councilman Klaus was incorrect when he advised The Voice that the money to pay for this was coming from a “contingency fund.” The entire amount will be coming from the General Fund Investment Account, which is the Town’s savings account.

Concerning the painting of the first two floors of Town Hall, for a cost of $9,615, I discovered that Councilman Klaus was incorrect when he advised The Voice that this expenditure was in the 2015/2016 budget – it is not. This money was in the 2014/2015 budget (last year’s budget), but was not included in the 2015/2016 budget (this year’s budget).

I could not find it when I looked over the budget, as I was allowed to per the FOIA. So, if this money is not in the 2015/2016 budget, where is it coming from – my guess the Town’s savings account.

The overall impact of this is that the Town is going to spend money unwisely, in my opinion. If all the expenditures are made as they seem to be, then council will be dipping into the savings account for about $17,915.

If like me you think these are unwise expenditures, you should let your councilman know. If you think these are wise expenditures, then you should also advise your councilman. Remember this is your money coming out of the Town’s savings account for: a Christmas tree, decorations and painting, which raises the question: is this a wise way to spend money that is coming from the savings account?

Once the savings accounts are depleted, over time, there goes the Town’s safety net.

Richard Driscoll

Winnsboro

 

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