City Council will examine own method of expense accounting

January 10, 2003
Santa Paula City Council
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe City Council will examine their own method of expense accounting at a future meeting after a councilman objected to fully financed annual accounts being set up for the business expenditures of newly elected council members halfway through the budget cycle.Finance Director Tina Rivera submitted a request for the council to appropriate $2,500 per new council member - Dr. Gabino Aguirre and Mary Ann Krause - for expenditures during the remainder of the budget cycle.Each council member is allotted a $2,500 annual budget to cover expenditures, Rivera noted.“I was vocal about this a year ago and I still am,” said Councilman Rick Cook, who in November was reelected to his second term of office.Cook said the allotment being addressed is “for a half year (remaining in the budget cycle), but it’s a full year’s money you want to give. . .”
Cook requested staff to come back with a report to the council on expense account related issues, including phone usage “that I think staff should tell us more about. . .”Although Cook said he supported the budget allocations, he noted the council “must use the money more wisely with the times we’ll be coming up against,” with looming state and county deficits that could lead to steep cuts in the local budget.Mayor John Procter agreed: “I think we have to reexamine this; at the time we approved this we also had a lot of other things on our plates and now I think we have to look at this whole issue,” of council expense accounts.Council expenses are defined as cell phone, office equipment, car rental, conference fees, hotel-motel and other costs occurred as part of the council member doing city related business.

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