City Council increases budget allotment for training/workshops/meetings

August 21, 2001
Santa Paula City Council

The City Council will have a larger pool of money for job-related spending, it was decided at the Aug. 7 Budget Hearing

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe City Council will have a larger pool of money for job-related spending, it was decided at the Aug. 7 Budget Hearing.Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa asked that a suggestion for be kept in mind for a special council budget to cover expenditures such as conferences “to help serve the community better,” as well as benefit the council as a whole.City Manager Peter Cosentini’s report on the issue noted that at present time the council has “no authority to spend city funds individually,” with the only exception being League of California Cities conferences when council members are given a credit card to trip-related expenses, although policy is reimbursements for same.When it comes to a special fund for council member expenses, “my recommendation is not to change the current practices,” said Cosentini.The proposed budget has $5,000 for training/workshops/meetings, roughly $1,000 per council member.Mayor Don Johnson said there are several conferences other than the League of California Cities that would be beneficial to attend, and Espinosa noted that “things might come up during the year just like in other departments,” that require a new expenditure.“I agree with that; we’ve cut back so much now it’s difficult to go to conferences and there are good ones,” that should be attended, said Johnson.
Cosentini said more funds could be added to training/workshops/meetings fund category. “It’s broader than that,” said Espinosa, as costs could include cell phone and copying costs, even secretarial services.“This is the council’s budget and if we have a special need we should be able to utilize [funding] for constituent services,” she noted.Vice Mayor Ray Luna said council members should be given what it takes to do the job and such costs could be considered by the full council for approval.“That would be an appropriate way to do it,” said Cosentini but Espinosa disagreed.“For a small item to come to the full council for the okay is so inefficient. . .we should have tools in place and shouldn’t have to run to,” other council members at a meeting to garner expenditure approval. “The city manager can spend $25,000,” without such oversight, Espinosa added, and “we’re limiting ourselves to $1,000. . .that’s a big difference.”Luna said council duty could be the focus of a salary survey, “see what other council members make,” and then pay for expenditures related to service out of pocket.After more discussion the council agreed to up the budgeted expenditure for training/workshops/meetings to $7,500 annually.

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