Board declines to approve 2014-15 Budget Ordinance on first reading

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen declined last week to approve the proposed Budget Ordinance for the 2014-15 fiscal year on first reading.
At a special meeting Thursday night, Alderman Kelly Rector offered a motion for approval, but it died for lack of a second.
While calling for that second, Mayor Chris Goodman noted that the board had “exceeded the time limit” to obtain an “extension” from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office. He expressed concern that, without its first-reading approval at that meeting, the board would be “late” completing the budget this year.
“Once we get to the end of June, with no budget, we can’t operate,” he said. “We can’t pay salaries, invoices or bills. We’ll have no appropriations.”
When Alderman Karl Chambless sought to “make a comment” about the proposed ordinance, Goodman noted that it could not be discussed without a second to Rector’s motion.
During a telephone interview Friday afternoon, the mayor said he was “a bit disappointed” that no action was taken on the ordinance at the meeting. While noting that it was e-mailed to the aldermen on May 31, he said they had “almost a week” to study it.
“My thought was, second the motion and discuss it,” he said. “If you just don’t like it, you can always vote it down and not accept it.”
Goodman said he would schedule another special meeting for this week. If the ordinance is approved on first reading, notice of a public hearing and the final reading will then be published on June 18.
Because of a 10-day notification requirement, the mayor said the final reading will have to be set for June 28 or 29.
“That is a weekend,” he noted. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t meet at that time, as long as we publicize it.”
While not ruling it out, Goodman said he would “hate” to have the meeting on June 30. If there are any “problems” with the final reading, he said, July 1 is “right there.”
The mayor also noted that the ordinance must be submitted to the state Comptroller’s Office for approval.
“We’re going to be cutting it very close this year,” he acknowledged. “So, we’ve got to make this happen.”
The Municipal Budget Law enacted in 1982 by the Tennessee General Assembly requires the governing body of each municipality to adopt and operate under an annual budget ordinance that presents a financial plan with the information required by the state.
Section 6-56-209 of the Tennessee Code Annotated authorizes the municipality’s “budget officer” to transfer money from one appropriation to another in the same fund. The transfer must be reported to the municipality’s governing body at its next regular meeting and entered into the minutes.
No appropriation can be made in excess of available funds, except to provide for an “actual emergency” that threatens the “health, property or lives” of the municipality’s residents. The emergency must be “declared” by a two-thirds vote of the municipality’s governing body.

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