Police Car fuel and maintenance notes

Joe’s previous article relating to the mileage and cost for fuel going to and from Jacksonville was never responded to by Chapter 119.  Nor was there a response to an inquiry as to why mileage logs are not kept.

The footnotes of the budget state “Fuel is based on 700 gallons a month at $3.50 per Gallon.  The electrical Utilities for $40 is the boat launch.  The police Vehicles repairs and maintenance are estimated at (1) 2008 Dodge Charger 601 Average Condition; $72,839 miles 16 oil changes, fluids & transmission   (2) 2008 Dodge Charger 602 Poor condition  42,955 miles Tires on all vehicles for $3,265.”

Although our local garage is paid on time for maintenance, it appears other contractors have to wait for their money (i.e. fixing air conditioning) so hopefully the Town will consider paying all of their indebtedness for all services.  But we know Steve Jeffers does a wonderful job at very low cost which is a benefit for the Town as well as for us.

Let’s Look at the General Revenue Account

Let’s look at the General Revenue Account under which the $124,626 from the Sewer/Water enterprise account was absorbed: By the Way, Bill Lawrence has a very professional outlay of the budget…one of the best ever, I believe, in White Springs.

GENERAL REVENUE

$ 68,000  AD VALOREM  Taxes

$19,025 Charges for Services

$ 33,000  Franchise Fees

$   5,375  License Permits

$   4,760  Miscellaneous Revenue (i.e. 119’s lol)

$ 18,315 Public Safety Revenue

$198,350 Sales and Use Tax

$ 46,150  Utilities & Service Tax

$ 21,106  Transportation

$131,729 Estimated Beginning Cash

$124,626  Transfer from Enterprise

$   20,788  Transfer from Police Sinking Fund   (Really? now robbing the police department, after trying to rob the Fire Department)

=============

$691,224  Total General Revenue

GENERAL EXPENSE

$ 13,077  Legislative Expenses  (Mayor, Vice Mayor and councilpersons salary, FICA, council travel and training and election expense.)

$373,901 Government Expense (Salaries, travel and training, General Insurance, office supplies, $14,000 Legal Council, $5,000 Electric Utilities, $18,000 repair and maintenance, etc.)

$   11,000  Planning Expense

$ 196,107  Police Expense   ( Sheriff’s expense would be approximately $150,000 as per previous notes.  They also have a Police Car sinking fund of $6,960 – amazing money set aside for a new police car)

$   30,422   Fire Department Expense

$    1,500     Animal Control – Charles Williams the Jasper Animal Control Officer for stray dogs has not responded.   Live Oak was also contacted – we have a problem with finding someone for Animal Control.

$  64,117  Streets  (and maybe if there is a problem like there was on Jewett Street, the County will have to do the work and pay the tab for poor White Springs)

$     1,100  Utilities   (If the Town is paying this little for utilities, they obviously are not paying for sewer and water from the General Fund  – Who would have thought it?)

===========

$691,224   Total General Expenses

The Delegal Building may be leased by a Radio Station if everything is approved.

The Delegal building is up for lease and it is now to house a radio station as part of the economic plan.  This is the first I have heard that we had an economic plan and if anyone has heard of it, let us know.  They are working on the sub-sub lease with the Park and Delegal.  Currently the  Town receives an estimated $11,800 for Cell Tower Rental Fees and if we have a radio station there may be additional rental fees to use the Tower.

Budget Information on the Enterprise (sewer & water) Account

Remember the meeting where the council stated there was a deficit of $40,000 in the sewer/water (Enterprise Account?  And since there was scuttlebutt of some $40,000 lost from a Grant Account, it could be prudently determined that is why the Shortage occurred.

This is solidified by the Budget Summary for the Fiscal Year 2014-2015.   It was estimated that the Enterprise Income would be $542,040 to which the beginning cash was $48,946.  If we had beginning cash of $48,946, then why were we $40,000 short in the Enterprise Account?

Let’s look at the Budget.  Adding the beginning cash to the Enterprise income expected, the Total Revenue expected is $590,986. What is interesting is that since this is not a public utility, the Town is transferring to the General Fund $126,626, leaving $466,360 as total revenue anticipated for the Enterprise Account.

The Enterprise Expenses are $192,025 Public Works;$205,03 Sewer/Water; $48,946 Contingency; and $20,296 Capital improvements for a balance anticipated total of$466,360.
Instead of $126,626 going to the General Fund, why is there not a sinking fund for improvements for pipes that need to be replaced and debt service.   Obviously, it is not the Cost of Sewer and Water alone but the Town cannot live without taking money and placing it in the General Fund rather than having retained earnings for a catastrophe or contingency.   Yes the budget went down from the prior year of $1.35M to $1,157,584 but because there has never been sinking funds, the General Revenue must take into account hard earned funds of the citizens of the high sewer and water rates which will remain at high levels.  The Town’s Take is 21.43% to cover the General Fund.
By the way, the water revenues anticipated are $111,000 with anticipated Sewer Revenue of $214,000.  The service charges are anticipated to generate $20,000 ($15,073.04 actual from October 13 – June 14, 2014) with additional water tap and sewer tap fees revenue of $4,000.  There you have it.  Nothing will be decreased and if there is additional revenue, it will go in the General Fund.
The proposed Debt Service (2001 Bond A & B) is $41,395, with the waste water Loan Repayment (sinking) at $33,000.  I still haven’t figured out why if there was an advertizement that we no longer had a loan at one time with Mayor McKire.  Why we have such debt service now. Perhaps we should ask Willie Jefferson who was on the council at that time.

The Town may be in the business of Campgrounds for rent for future events!

There was a motion by Rhett Bullard and approved 4/0 by the council members to move forward on using the Bailey Ogburn Ball Field as a campground during the Folk Festival.   They must determine the number of sites and are considering charging $30.00 per campsite.

Having not been at the meeting, I am curious how an amount of $30.00 was determined.  It may be like our budget, pulling a rabbit out of the hat.   Let me explain.

The word was move “forward”.  Without determining the number of sites for RV’s and the number of sites for tents and pop-up campers, is the $30.00 sufficient to cover the costs of?:  Hopefully the $30.00 is a “per day” fee at least and not $30.00 per festival.

***  Number of Showers and Porta-potties needed for the tents and pop-up campers and the respective costs.

***  Number of RV’s and campers which will require electrical connections because not all have on-board generators.  Will electrical hook-ups be available?  What will be the respective costs?

***Is there hot water available for the showers at the ball park or will everyone have to take a cold shower?   Who pays for the water?

*** Is there a facility where the RV’s can dump their wastes nearby.  Most camping facilities have a dumping area included in the costs. What will be the sewer costs?

***Will there be camping rules (i.e. No alcoholic beverages; no wood burning; no parties)?

***Will the campground have police protection or security?

***Will there be some type of trolley, bus or golf carts to take people to the park.  Once the RV is parked, there is no vehicle unless a camper brings their own ATV or cart.  Personally, the property between the Mayor’s house and the Library would be a perfect spot for campers.  It would also be close to the Town’s amphitheater.

*** How many people may be  be in one RV.  The norm is four people to an RV for the initial cost, which is determined after calculating all expenses and number of sites and $10 additional for each extra person.

Although the location of the campground was approved, someone needs to determine if the cost is sufficient and who besides Kenny will have to maintain the ball field, and at what Cost to the Town?

At least the Town is finally determining how to make some money other than off the Citizens of White Springs.  For that I give the town credit.  However, I have never understood how someone may determine a price without looking at the total expenditures in order to make some profit.

Now the Trust agreement the Town has entered into has required  a Loss Prevention program.  Besides the broken sidewalks which citizens could certainly take a spill on, the Town should think about concessions.  When I went to art exhibits in the Ocala area, the range per site was from $40-$75.00 depending if one required lights at night.  I mentioned to the previous Town Manager that the town should include food vendors who have products liability, otherwise the Town could be sued in the event of some contamination or bacteria.  In other words, restaurants only who may provide evidence of insurance.

Other vendors likewise must hold the Town harmless and provide insurance for the event for such things as slips and falls or in the event something falls on a person.  These vendors must provide a safe environment, pay a fee,  provide a hold-harmless agreement and provide evidence of insurance, adding the Town as an additional insured.  This is usual.  Last year’s vendors at the Azalea Festival were terrific, and it appeared the vendors used care in preventing losses.  However, the Town will learn the day someone gets sick on the food and is hospitalized.  That will be the day someone may sue for products  liability.  It is just as easy for Fat Belly’s or other local restaurants to provide the food and the insurance.

If the Town wishes to get in events, they must look into the overall costs and what profit they may be able to earn before setting a price.  And by all means, there should be rules and a loss control program to alleviate any risks of a suit.      Personally, it may not be a bad deal.  We would have Hamilton County handle the Village of White Springs. lol.

 

 

Good News for Bill Lawrence and possibly others

The existing employment contract has always had a six month probationary period.

You will recall that sometime back I had included an article about what type of employment contract should have been offered to Bill Lawrence.  This is because the Town Manager position holds a high rank if the Charter is followed.  And, secondly, Bill Lawrence uprooted his entire family to move from Maine.   I am happy that the new policy is a 90 day probationary period, especially for Lawrence and his family.

Once working in White Springs, because of its reputation on various levels on the outside, it would be difficult for one to secure a better position in this part of Florida.  I have been told that by many people who indicated they would never wish to live here because mainly the high cost.

Nothing was said, to my knowledge from the meeting notes,  whether there would be an increase in salary since Bill Lawrence is making only 68% of what he made as Town Manager in Lincoln Maine.  For years there have been no sinking funds for improvements.  None of the Town Managers prior to Bill Lawrence or those on the council have felt it was prudent to save money, only spend money.  The one thing one notices is that the Town finally cashes checks immediately.  It may be because the Town is more efficient or it could be because the Town needs every cent it can lay hands on to make budget and payroll.  You be the judge because there has not been a lot of transparency.

Also the Council voted to approve all Board Members and Committees as they currently stand.

A motion from Rhett Bullard to Adopt Ordinance 14-03 – an ordinance promulgating the rates to be charged for use of municipal water and sewer services was approved.

Roosters has flown the coop

As many of you are aware, the Town, because of a stronger liquidity assisted Roosters in providing the business with the ability to sell fishing licenses.  This cost the Town $1,000 and with Roosters inability to stay in business in White Springs, the Town, besides the Hardware Store, now sells fishing licenses.

Addendum:   With a vote of 4-0, since the Hardware Store sells fishing licenses, the Town of White Springs will send the Fishing License Machine back.

 

The agenda for the 10/14/2014 meeting stated there would be a motion to forgive current lease holder to back rent and water/sewer bill.  Again, similar to the Town not collecting fines for those who did not obey ordinances, someone apparently wished to assist the leaseholder.  If it would have been money owed by Joe Griffin, I can assure you, officials would be at the door with a judgment or collection processes.

From what I can read from the handwritten minutes, the Lessee owes $563.00 for back rent and water and sewer.  If the Lessee could not afford his sewer/water bills, how can the Town expect some of the residents of White Springs to pay such high bills.  Everyone has to pay something in order to live, provide a roof over their head as well as utilities.  However, for some the water and sewer rate is higher than their electrical bills.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the Town would not charge such high connection fees, but as it is the Town is not concerned with the average citizen.

The Town however, from the notes will pursue a new renter and work out a plan to “recruit” the money owed, whatever that means.

Special strokes for special folks remains.

The Direction of our Current Government

These three, short sentences tell you a lot about the direction of our
current government and cultural environment:

 

  1. We are advised to NOT judge ALL Muslims by the actions of a few lunatics, but we are encouraged to judge ALL gun owners by the actions of a few lunatics. Funny how that works.

    And here’s another one worth considering…

 

  1. Seems we constantly hear about how Social Security is going to run out of money. How come we never hear about welfare or food stamps running out of money? What’s interesting is the first group “worked for” their money, but the second didn’t. Think about it…..

 

and Last but not least,

 

  1. Why are we cutting benefits for our veterans, no pay raises for our military and cutting our army to a level lower than before WWII, but we are not stopping the payments or benefits to illegal aliens.

 

Am I the only one missing something?

 

 

 

Quotes on Politics from Brainyquote.com

Perhaps we should worry less about judging people for being Mormon or Baptist or Muslim or gay or straight or black or white or Latino or by their religious or political brands and worry more about electing thoughtful, serious and ethical politicians on both sides of the political isle who are willing to work together for progress.

Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.
Calvin CoolidgeGreatest, Race, Privilege
While I hold my own political views, it’s important not to get too wrapped up in individual candidates and personalities, but instead to focus on the real issues.
Marcus Samuelsson

History, Greatest, Create
All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.
George Orwell

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