Sunday, April 5, 2015

Has Wallingford committed to fund the department overtime once The Fund donated the $16,500

I got this question on Facebook today and I offered the explanation (below) in the thread as an answer. Since it is a topical question I thought it made since to strip it out and post it here for reference.

QUESTION - Has Wallingford committed to fund the department overtime once The Fund donated the $16,500


ANSWER - The town has not as far as I know. When I last spoke with the Mayor and the Council there are no funds added to the department budgets for that overtime.

If nothing changes, and The Fund successfully collects the $16,500 (a 38% increase of costs from 2014), the town will not have the department overtime funds in the budget to pay for the show. That means there would be no show on the school grounds.

That is where we are presently (and I am placing a call to the Mayor to confirm my information as I have it and explain it below)

Now - what can happen:

-- The Town Council could change the budget to add the funds.
-- Five votes are needed to pass (I personally believe 5 votes exist to make that happen).

-- If they do, the changed budget (for that reason or others) could be vetoed by the Mayor
-- If a veto occurs the Council Budget would be vetoed and the Mayor's Budget would be restored (without the funding).
-- That COULD be overturned but it requires 7 Council votes
-- I do not believe there would be more than five votes to overturn the veto
-- A Mayoral veto has never been overturned (if my memory serves)

So it is likely the Council will add the funds for the overtime.

There is still a likelihood that too many budget changes would compel the Mayor to veto the budget.

With that, the show will be cancelled and not allowed to happen in conjunction with the town on the school grounds – this is regardless of whether or not we fund the $16,500.

This is a long answer but it's necessary to understand all the facets.

If it was totally the Mayor's decision, the show would be dead on the school grounds because he did not entertain the overtime for the town departments to cover their own costs.

Once the fate of the budget is fully decided we will know for sure.

As an aside, The Fund is looking at "Plan B" which would be "what if The Fund collects the $16,500 and the town doesn't host the show?" We are attempting to find a private location in town (farm, corporate property, etc) where we could get permission as "The Fund" to host the show ourselves.

But that is an ugly issue for a number of reasons.

For one, it will take the show off the West Side of town where it has been since the 70s.

The other ugly truth is, I have a few locations that can work (and they are limited because of the size needed) and the fact of the matter is our local government frightens people (and that should not be the case).

"I have a variance coming up with P&Z; I'd love to help but I am worried about retribution."

"I just appealed my taxes and got them adjusted; I don't want to have another issue this year; revaluation is coming up and I may not be heard fairly. If I need to go to the Board of Appeals and I have an issue with them, then I need to spend time and money in court. I'd love to help but I really can't expose my business."

So the sad truth is that between the administration's resistance to this from the get go, and the overall death grip the local government has on property owners in town, having this show just gets harder and harder to do.

Collecting $16,500, while difficult in its own right, is almost the easier part.

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