Bogdala proposed yet another budget amendment
At tonight’s special meeting of the Common Council, the resolution by the committee on Finance to approve the 2012-2016 Capital Improvement Plan was approved unanimously.
Alderperson David Bogdala proposed yet a third amendment to the mayor’s operating budget in a final attempt to provide the taxpayers with a 0% increase to the levy. “People expect us to fight for zero,” he said. This amendment put the position of the Director of Public Works back in the budget, as well as created a new position, a political appointee, called the chief of staff.
Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia stated that he was not voting for the amendment. He stated that he had been called a “coward” and “chicken” for not voting for Bogdala’s amendment last night. He stated that he had received not one call asking him why he didn’t vote for the amendment last night, but he did receive e-mails and phone calls thanking him for voting the way he did.
Alderperson Ray Misner expressed his frustration serving on this council. “People worked hard to make the budget better for the citizens of Kenosha,” he stated. “We have one side of the voting poll always doing the work, coming up with better ways to do things, and then we have the other side criticizing the individual for being creative and doing extra work. There are two philosophies here: the ‘keep your mouth shut and do what you’re told’ philosophy, and the ‘taxpayers put you here, listen to them, work for them’ philosophy. We’re trying to meet in the middle and provide the best of both worlds. We’re trying to make changes to save money, avoid a tax increase, and yet be more efficient, and protect the taxpayers all at the same time.”
Misner then spoke about the fact that there was talk that the mayor couldn’t do his job without the city administrator. “So, we’re giving you a chief of staff, which makes government better. We then know who the boss is — the mayor. There will be no confusion any more. We’ve created this new position with a lesser salary. If you’re against the amendment, all you were fighting for was to save the job of a city administrator whose salary is almost $200,000 and who receives five weeks of vacation. There’s no other way to put it. Turn your backs on the taxpayers, trying to protect somebody. There were other jobs on the chopping block, in other departments. The one main mission in this building was ‘How do we protect the city administrator?’ when it should be ‘How do we protect the taxpayers?’ Shame on them.”
Alderperson Steve Bostrom said that this issue was one that he “would go to the mat over. How do we work this number down, to get it as close to zero as we can? We need to work together. We don’t want votes of 8 vs. 9. What more can we do? For crying out loud, stop raising taxes. It’s simple. I ran for this job because I thought it would be rewarding. After last night, I was almost heartbroken. The pettiness that goes on is very disappointing. If it’s all about one position, then fine, keep it. But, get this number down as close to zero as you possibly can.”
Alderperson Anthony Kennedy stated that “there are a lot of emotions here tonight. I don’t want to add to that. We need to make government efficient and return to taxpayers with a sound plan. This meeting usually takes twenty minutes. The hard work has already been done at the committee level. We had someone last night taking ‘one more kick at the cat’ at the committee of the whole. The council speaks as a whole; the voice of the council spoke. I admire him for his tenacity. I see value in the city administrator position. But, is the real question, ‘Do we see value in the person occupying the position’?” Kennedy again spoke for spending a little bit of money to find out if the organization and compensation of the city government is correct. “We need a clear idea, a plan. I can’t support this. We need a comprehensive review of department heads, and administration, and see if we have the best people in place. This is not a plan, it’s an idea.”
Alderperson G. John Ruffolo stated that he’d like to set the record straight. He heard earlier that an alderperson said that he didn’t receive one e-mail asking him to vote for the amendment. “But I received an e-mail from some senior citizens that went to all alderpersons, stating ‘Vote tonight for no property tax increases.’ Kennedy stated that the city administrator reports to the mayor, but that’s not true. He reports to the Common Council by ordinance. I can’t believe we’re still discussing why zero is no good. It’s the biggest break we can give someone.”
Bogdala again made several statements. “I’m reminded of Walter Peyton saying ‘Never die easy.’ I’m not going down without a fight. Whatever happens here tonight, I’m going to ‘kick at the cat’ beyond today. I’m not done. It’s our job to look out for the citizens, not just from October 1st through December 1st (the time period that the annual budgets are being prepared). It’s their money. They deserve a $0.” Just to set the record straight, he called on Chief of Police John Morrissey. “Was it your original intent to put three more patrol officers on the street?” “Yes,” was Morrissey’s answer. Bogdala continued, “And it didn’t happen because you were not authorized. Is that right?” And, Morrissey stated that it was. “And, didn’t you state at the Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting that you really need at least twenty officers?” “Yes, that’s correct,” said Morrissey. “Then, with the chief bringing the ball to the five yard line, it’s up to us to take the ball and put it over the goal line,” stated Bogdala.
His amendment failed by a vote of 8 to 9. Those alderpersons voting against Bogdala’s amendment were Alderpersons Eric Haugaard, Jan Michalski, Rocco LaMacchia, Tod Ohnstad, Patrick Juliana, Katherine Marks, Anthony Kennedy, Daniel Prozanski, and Michael Orth.
The vote for the resolution by the Committee on Finance to adopt the mayor’s 2012 City of Kenosha Operating Budget, making appropriations and levying 2011 property taxes, was approved by a vote of 9 to 8. Those voting against were Alderpersons Theodore Ruffalo, G. John Ruffolo, Lawrence Green, Anthony Nudo, Steve Bostrom, Ray Misner, Jesse Downing, and David Bogdala.
The remainder of the agenda items were approved in short order:
- The resolution by the mayor to approve the 2012 budget and operating plan of the Kenosha Lakeshore Business Improvement District (BID) and to levy special assessments was approved by a vote of 11 to 6;
- The resolution by the mayor to amend Resolution No. 158-09, adopted on December 2, 2009, which amended emergency medical service user fees in accordance with Section 2.20 of the Code of General Ordinances, was approved by a vote of 9 to 8;
- The resolution by the mayor to approve the Table of Organization for various city departments and modify the 2012 Compensation Plans for Managerial, Supervisory, Professional and Confidential Employees and for Limited Term, Seasonal, Temporary and Part-Time Employees, was approved by a vote of 9 to 8;
- The resolution by the mayor to establish Stormwater Utility Rates within the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, was approved by a vote of 9 to 8; and
- The lease between the city of Kenosha and the Kenosha Public Library was also approved by a vote of 9 to 8.