officials will soon cash a nearly $600,000 certificate of deposit to help fund the city as it continues to operate under its fiscal year 2012 budget.
The Hiram City Council during a called meeting Tuesday voted to cash in the United Community Bank CD worth $595,643.38, plus interest earned minus an early withdrawal penalty. Of those funds, $250,000 will be deposited into the city’s general fund account, with the council required to vote on how those funds are spent; the remaining balance will be deposited into a money market account aimed at holding those funds in reserve.
“It’s to help with our current budget,” Mayor Doris Devey said of the measure following Tuesday’s meeting. “We’re still under last year’s budget, and that’s helping with the cash flow. The other part is going to be put into a money market [account] in case we need it, so it’s just going to be held in reserve.”
The measure to cash in the CD passed 3-1, with Councilwoman Kathy Bookout casting the sole dissenting vote. Councilwoman Earlene Graham was not present.
“I just could not vote to do that because I think that we need to look at what we would do if we did not have that CD,” Bookout said of her vote following the meeting. “I know that the bills need to be paid … but we need to look at the problem and find a solution. I’m not mad with anyone here—we’re all on good terms—but it’s just if we didn’t have that, what would we do? We have to change our mindset. The whole world is in a bad situation right now—it’s not just the city of Hiram—but we just can’t keep spending.
“When [auditor Lloyd] Williamson gave his speech, he said if we continued to spend, within three to four years we would be out of money. He was telling the truth, and if we don’t do something, we will be out of money. I know we have $8 million in the bank, but how long will that last at the rate we’re going?
“We need to look at the overall picture. We need to see what got us here,” Bookout added. “I wanted to have an audit done—we do have a yearly audit—but several years ago is when we got into this situation, and we need to see how we got here and correct that, whether it’s jobs, salaries, whatever it takes. Do we have too many employees? I don’t know. Everything needs to be looked at, and then we need to decide what to cut so we can meet what we’re bringing in.”
Devey said city officials are currently working on the FY2013 budget, which could be ready for council approval at the end of this month.
Set to help the city with its budget process is Robbie Rokovitz, who was officially hired as city manager Tuesday.
In other business, the council:
- Approved a resolution to place temporary restrictions on certain signs to allow for a review of the city’s sign ordinance.
- Approved a user agreement with Paulding County for the trunked radio system and services.
Councilmen at the top of Tuesday’s meeting went into closed session to discuss matters dealing with property acquisition and pending or potential litigation with their legal counsel. No business was added to the agenda when councilmen returned from the hourlong closed session.
The Hiram City Council’s next scheduled meetings are a Sept. 13 work session followed by the Sept. 18 business session.
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