Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Council Keeps Fingers Out of Cookie Jar (Rainy Day Fund)- Video

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea explains use of Rainy Day fund for catastrophes.

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea explains use of Rainy Day fund for catastrophes.

“NOT A BAD PERSON” – Councilman Court Rosen did not fault any of his colleagues or want anyone to think those who disagree with him might be considered “a bad person.” Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea cleared the air on the purpose of the reserve fimd. Rosen stuck to his guns and reiterated his position.

Rosen made a last ditch effort to dip into the City’s Budget Stabilization Fund (better known as the Rainy Day Fund). Read the email circulated meant to garner support for Rosen’s proposal from previous post.


Rosen admitted that it could lead to a downgrade the City’s “AA “bond rating.

His explanation was that an extra 1/4% interest payment on debt would only result in a minor cost to the taxpayers of $60,000 a year. Rosen said, “hopefully we can get this back when the recession is over.”

Rosen purposed pulling $1,907,867 out of the Budget Stabilization Fund for keeping the pools open, bookmobile, not cut library hours, keep summer school program, and save teacher’s assistants and guidance counselors positions.

Councilman Court Rosen makes case for dipping into the Rainy Day Fund.

Councilman Court Rosen makes case for dipping into the Rainy Day Fund.

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea responded saying he understands the worthiness of saving these programs and commended staff on their excellent work the did assisting Council in their tough decisions. Lea strongly objected to using the Rainy Day funds saying “we’re in a recession and we’re not going to get through this pain free… it’s difficult.” Lea reiterated that what Council has done for the schools is “solid.” Lea went on to say, “it is our obligation as elected officials to use this fund for “catastrophic natural disasters.” Lea used Katrina as an example saying, “those kinds of things happen.” Lea said that you can’t always depend on the State or Federal Government for assistance especially in the short term. The funds are there to “protect lives and people … It is not like a savings account you can dip into,” said Lea. For now Lea believes the City has been able to keep itself above water. Lea summed up use of the Budget Stabilization Fund – “it is for life, health, and safety issues.”

Councilman Rupert Cutler agreed and the Director of Finance, Ann Shawver expanded saying that she wanted the citizens to know that “it is not like we have these pots of money sitting around.” Shawver prefered that Council did not dip into the reserve. The policy says that the reserve is for significant emergencies such as unforseen loss in revenues. “It would be more fiscally prudent to not use it for next years budget balancing,” said Shawver. She would rather see taxes raised to balance the budget. The “AA” bond rating is already on “watch” by Moody’s at 7% of the budget explained Shawver. The ideal is from 8 to 15% saying that Roanoke city was at the low end as it stands now.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (6)

The Voice

April 22nd, 2009 at 8:43 AM    

Court appears to be the only one who truly cares and understands what it takes to fix our schools. Mason is showing once again that she does not get it.


April 22nd, 2009 at 10:40 PM    

Sometimes it takes wisdom to keep inexperienced youth from overzealous shortsighted action.

The Voice

April 23rd, 2009 at 9:46 AM    

If you think this is wisdom, you need to seriously check yourself. How do you propose we increase our graduation rate? Cutting resources is not the way to do it, especially when you have the money. Come on Valerie it is short sided thoughts like yours that have held Roanoke back for too long. Please do not even consider running for council again.


April 23rd, 2009 at 11:20 AM    


The other 6 members of Council is wisdom, you are not. The Dir. of Finance is wisdom and experience, you are not. I’m dissappointed in your direct attack on me – we have had civil discussions so far and I have not attacked any of your candidates.

Adam Boitnott

April 23rd, 2009 at 12:09 PM    


Sorry that you think I am “The Voice”, but I assure you that I am not. I post under my name. Valerie frankly I have openly defended you to a couple people very recently and find it weird that you think I am “The Voice”.

I do agree with opening the Rainy Day fund and I have been directing a number of people to your blog, SCH, Court’s blog, and our blog and asking them to comment. A lot of our citizens agree with opening the rainy day fund.



April 23rd, 2009 at 12:44 PM    


Thank you for letting me know and I apologize for the accusation.


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