City Commission candidate Price Banks took the city manager’s office to task Tuesday, saying the office doesn’t conduct business in a transparent enough manner.
At a press conference in City Hall, Banks criticized the city’s budget document for not having basic information that residents need to know as the city discusses potential budget cuts.
“They have provided absolutely the bare minimum in terms of the city’s revenues and expenditures,” Banks said.
Banks provided reporters with a list of specific issues that he said could not be found in the city’s budget document, which is about 250 pages. Those included:
• How much the city manager is paid.
• Names of contractors or services provided as part of the $24.4 million in contractual services in the budget.
• Details on operational costs such as how much the city pays for sand and road salt, how much the city pays to lease space for the Municipal Court building, and how much the city pays to operate specific Parks and Recreation facilities such as the swimming pools and the Prairie Park Nature Center.
Banks, who was a city employee in the 1980s and 1990s as director of planning, said he thought the budget was the sign of a larger problem of City Hall not sharing enough information with the public.
“I don’t think they are very transparent in general,” Banks said. “I think the budget is just an example of that.”
City Manager David Corliss’ office issued a statement saying it was inappropriate for city employees to engage in election discussions. But the statement said the city has been awarded the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association each year since 2003. The city also posts all payments made to vendors each week on its Web site as part of the City Commission agendas. Information about employee salaries also is available by calling the city’s Human Resources Division, the statement said.
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