Hendrick votes no and questions calculations
By Barb Pert Templeton
A majority of the Marine City Commission voted in favor of adopting a resolution for the 2021-2022 budget at a special meeting on May 5. Commissioners Lisa Hendrick and William Klaassen voted no.
“I will not vote for this budget since the process was not followed,” Hendrick said after asking about the paperwork in front of her from the office of City Manager Holly Tatman.
Hendrick wanted to know why the changes and amendments weren’t attached to the current resolution so she could see the breakout. Tatman said the numbers are all there in projected activities.
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“That’s not how we do the amendments, they have to be listed with the sheet, if we go back on any of our old budgets and any of our old amendments…” Hendrick said.
“Lisa, we talked about this,” Tatman interjected. “I’m not going to do things the way you used to just to do them, I am one person, I did not have the means to do all of these.”
Hendrick insisted that if Tatman presented things the way they were it would be a problem when it comes to an audit. Tatman said that wasn’t so because there are two columns with the original numbers and the projected numbers and that’s all the auditors need.
Hendrick persisted and asked if a citizen comes in and wants to see the numbers, is she going to tell them to take two budgets and compare them?
“I know you have a new way of doing things and that’s fine but all I’m telling you is that when you put together a resolution that says review the amendments and there’s nothing attached, we have to show those on here,” Hendrick said.
Tatman insisted the document was just that, two columns on one page with the relevant numbers and the details for the amendments were all right there in the packets provided to the commission.
“I’ve been doing these budgets for a long, long time and I’ve never, ever seen one of these come through without the papers attached,” Hendrick said.
“Well, I guess we’ll find out,” Mayor Cheryl Vercammen said. “We will let the professional, which is (Accountant) Curtis McBride, look at this and as far as we have nothing to hide from the public we never have, this is all in the packet, I think it’s pretty clear here and we’re moving on.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jacob Bryson said he had all the information he needed and wasn’t wanting for anything else in order to vote on the budget.
Commissioner Brian Ross added that if the public looked at it, they would see numbers listed in columns as original, amended and projected.
Hendrick objects to numbers in the 2022-2023 budget
As to the new fiscal year 2022-2023 budget, Hendrick said the chart provided was lacking proper information.
“This chart is so important to our budget if this is done properly and you add up all these numbers you should be able to balance them in our budget, it needs a lot of updates,” Hendrick said. “A lot of the wages aren’t correct, the hourly rates, we’ve got overtime that’s incorrect, there was only $20,000 in the budget.”
She pointed out that for example, a sheet in the budget listing the wages for city employees didn’t reflect the correct salary amounts and neither did details about insurance coverage, FICA, pension and life insurance.
“Are you looking at all the one I sent out this week? All the wages are correct,” Tatman said.
“Well then a lot of people got some hefty raises,” Hendrick replied.
She went on to read numbers on the document related specifically to Tatman saying she earns $75,000 in one spot and $77,000 in another spot and for the clerk, it says she’s making $62,000 but that’s not what she started at when she was hired.
“I’m confused about all these wages in here and whether they are correct,” Hendrick said. “This is the number one document that needs to be spot on.”
She said added up all the columns and they didn’t add up and she had serious concerns about it.
After listing lots of other issues with the numbers reflected in the proposed budget Hendrick turned the table over to Tatman for answers.
“First off some of the things you said are not accurate,” Tatman said.
The city manager conceded that the wage table chart did have some incorrect things on the health care and FICA sections but the wages were correct. She said the incorrect areas were not her expertise.
On the issue of expected dollars coming into the budget, Tatman said last year the city was $500,000 in the hole because they had projected getting $300,000 from the sale of some property that simply didn’t happen. She said the auditor told her she is not allowed to put projected dollars into the budget for money that hasn’t come in.
“Everyone has had these documents for weeks upon weeks, I asked until I was blue in the face if anyone had questions, cares, concerns, anything, come to me, you know how many phone calls I received? Zero,” Tatman said. ‘The only thing I got was a three-hour ambush at a work meeting and I answered every single thing you brought Lisa.”
“No, you didn’t,” Hendrick replied.
Tatman also characterized the last nine months with the city, she was hired in September, as “a baptism by fire.”
“This is a balanced budget we worked our tails off for months on this,” Tatman said. “Yes, this is a very vanilla budget, it is the basics, keep maintenance and keep services provided not to hurt the residents and business owners in this town but it’s a fair budget to get us through the next year there is nothing wrong with this budget.”
“I am not a rookie when it comes to doing budgets and this is a balanced, solid, safe budget for this community and I will defend it all day long,” Tatman said.
Hendrick insisted she wasn’t trying to “fault anybody” on the budget but things were just not being presented properly and as they had been in the past.
Hendrick and Commissioner William Klaassen voted no on the budget.