During Tuesday's city council meeting, members faced a long agenda. The meeting lasted for more than three hours. One of the issues up for public hearing was transferring funds from one account to another to cover the cost of the new fire contract.
Council member Jean Stothert, was the only person to comment on the issue at the public hearing. She said although the mayor said there is a shortfall in the budget to cover the new fire contract -- to the tune of $7 million-- money has been set aside in an account during the two previous years, in case an agreement was reached. That did not happen.
Now that there is a contract for this year, those funds still need to be transferred. "It doesn't mean we are over budget, that amount, it's just being moved from one budgeted account to another," said Stothert. "Because we do finally have a fire contract and we are putting additional money into their pensions and into their salary."
Mayor Suttle was stripped of his negotiating power before the new fire contract was reached.
Shortly after, he held a press conference saying: "The Finance Department set aside a little over $11 million in the Wage Adjustment Account, however the contract costs are around $19 million meaning we need to find a way to meet our 2013 budget obligations."
Stothert said it's still unknown if the set aside funds will match the costs of the new contract, because those numbers are still being crunched, but she said it should be close.