A request for year-end transfers in the city budget almost didn’t pass with councillors because it was handed in with just two days to go before deadline.
Director of Finance George Anzuoni presented the council with over nine pages of requests for transfers, ranging in everything from police and fire overtime, workmen’s compensation to water and sewer work, and more.
Councillor Brian Arrigo said it would be nice to have more time to analyze the information. He asked why the information was so late and after they approved the budget for FY16, which began July 1.
The first vote on the transfer requests failed with Arrigo, Councillor Jessica Giannino, Councillor and Councillor Steven Morabito voting against the request. Three councillors were absent Monday night, and the majority of a full council was needed to pass the measure.
Anzuoni explained that there was no time to wait. “If it doesn’t pass we’ll have a deficit and it will hurt the bond rating and money market,” Anzuoni said. “It would be irresponsible of the city not to pass. Not passing the transfers would be a detriment. I’m not one to take this lightly. It may be late but we went through a tedious process.”
Council President John Powers came down hard. “When we scheduled this meeting we had no idea these transfers were in,” Powers said. “We put off voting on zoning changes because three members are absent.”
Morabito got even more firm, reminding Anzuoni that the council had only a week to review the whole budget.
“I need more time,” Morabito said. “I’m not doubting your efforts. You knew this was coming up. I feel like we could of gotten this three weeks ago.”
Anzuoni said the city didn’t have the information. His fear was the impact on the city’s ability to go to the bond market.
Mayor Dan Rizzo, who attended the council meeting, said the city has the money, it just needs to transfer it. He too didn’t want to jeopardize the city’s status.
“By this vote tonight you jeopardize the city,” Rizzo said. “I got plenty of reports late in my 12 years as a councillor. I never cast a vote that put the city in jeopardy financially.”
After some more banter Morabito said he would switch his vote.
“I’ll be clear and concise,” he said. “I don’t want it two days before. It’s not tolerable and it’s pathetic. (In the future) I’m not going to approve anything that comes in two days before.”
The transfers passed on the second vote, 6-2 with Morabito joining, Councillors John Powers, Stephen Reardon, Ira Novelsky, Charles Patch and Anthony Zambuto.