I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
Attention – Two posts today!!!!!
One of my major issues with Cudahy’s local government with Mayor McCue at the forefront is lack of communication and transparency.
While at a meeting at City Hall, someone came up to me and said, “There is a plan to have TIF money used to remodel City Hall.
It would include utilities (phone, network, Internet, electric) to be charged back to the TIF and the office space to be rented from City Hall and charged to the TIF.
How can TIF money be used to fix up and remodel City Hall for the Director of Economic Development’s office at City Hall if the .5 mile outside the TIF allowed is exceeded at City Hall?”
So in a nutshell, I asked the basic question to the Cudahy elected officials:
“How can TIF money be used to fix up and remodel City Hall for the Director of Economic Development’s office at City Hall if the .5 mile outside the TIF allowed is exceeded at City Hall?”
I did so after another person said that yes, there was a plan out there from which they understood was the office could have been remodeled and the utilities and office space could have been rented to the TIF district.
I found out that plan was not agreed upon and never acted on. That it was a plan that was just out there for discussion.
There was “NO” TIF money used on building the office for the Economic Development
Director (Lara Fritts). Instead, the Mayor asked that the money be taken out of Mary Jo Lange's
TIF Money was proposed but not approved for the City Hall office remodel. Those expenditures will hit the 2009 General Fund Budget.
One person did say they did hear about the renting but, they haven't seen anything to confirm that from Ehlers nor the city’s Auditors.
If the question is: Can the city expense 2009 utilities for Ms. Fritts’s office to TIF? Their answer would be, “Maybe.”
It wouldn't be rent but rather a journal entry. If the city can and wanted to do this, they would need to make a journal entry by end of this year.
Mr. Williamson, the comptroller, has ultimate control which fund expenses go under. But the Common Council has not given direction to use funds in this matter. It also wasn't included in the Director Economic Developer's Budget (which I posted).
I was told that Ms. Fritts's salary is considered an administrative cost for TIF. Expenses for her office possibly could be considered under the same administrative cost guidelines. This something that was considered, but the Council didn't approve.
The state has strict guidelines for TIF funds. The city is audited each year including TIF.
So bottom lining this:
The answer is "No"; the Common Council has not authorized the use of TIF for the office remodel.
The answer is "No"; the Common Council has not authorized the use of TIF for Ms. Fritts’s office utility expenses.
So until the Council takes some other action, the answer is "No". I'm also not aware of any plans to take any action.
Any changes in the future would require Council Approval.
I, as others, was and am not a supporter of taking the money out of the DPW budget. Taking away from the DPW that provides service, to fund an office remodel, takes away from the citizens, who utilize their services.
I would have liked the office that in the past with Jack Vaccaro at the People’s Credit Union used. A space that Paul Burkhardt and the Cudahy Chamber of Commerce in the past have allowed to be used for free.
It was my understanding that the Chamber didn't offer and the city didn't ask to use it. Partly because the Mayor would be working hand and hand with Ms. Fritts and there were concerns of driving back and forth. Insurance and weather conditions, I was told played a factor.
Well with NO City use vehicle policy in place, I would be scared as well.
So where did this all come from in the first place? Was it a rumor or did it have a bases of truth. Well go back to December of 2008
The Cudahy Common Council, under the leadership of Mayor Ryan McCue, just spent $150,000 on renovations of city hall, and now I see this on the Dec 16th council agenda.
“Discussion and appropriate action regarding creation of office space for the new director of economic development, not to exceed $7,500, 80% paid by TIF, 20% from reserves.”
So, if the City of Cudahy would spend a little bit of the time and effort they are giving to the new Economic Development Director Lara Fritts’s website http://www.cudahy4business.com/ on the City website all of the TIF/TID information would be online for anyone to peruse and find the answers we so desperately need and deserve.
It comes to a head that Mayor McCue just doesn’t care if the City website is updated and the people are informed. He must want us to be that way for a reason! WHY????
BTW, Lara Fritts is using the same web person that the city used and wanted to keep using until we entered into a pact with the Milwaukee County tech people. So why is she not using them and when is the City’s website going to be updated?
More on the City’s website this weekend!