Dredge Project with overdraft protection

Over two years our county administrator and county commissioners have utilized reserve funds to balance our budget by cutting operating costs and transferring money from reserve accounts to pay bills. Transferring reserves are simply accounting transactions to cover expenses in excess of revenues for example anyone who has overdraft checking linked to their savings account can understand this. When you write a check in excess of your checking balance an automatic transfer from your savings covers the overdraft. This kind of financial management is a temporary fix when revenues are declining and an assumption that revenues will increase in the future to satisfy the imbalances being satisfied by reserve (savings) transfers. 

On Tuesday February 1, 2011 the County Commission voted 4-1 in agreement with Administrator Hamilton to become the General Contractor for the Hernando Beach Dredging Project under the supervision of Transportation Services supervisor Susan Goebel. We have spent $4.92 million on the project of which the State has reimbursed us $3.19 million of the promised $6 million this leaves a balance of $2.81 million due from the state. No one knows the cost of the project yet I will assume the project cost will be $12 million. After current expenses of $4.92 and only 6% of the project completed the balance of $7.08 million will be paid as follows $2.81 million from the state and $4.27 million from taxpayer dollars. 

If we were in an economic cycle where revenues would increase much of this money would come from excess revenues from tax payer money. But there won’t be excess revenues this year or next. The only other option is to use our overdraft protection, from where you ask our Transportation Reserves which could have been used to save The Bus and not reduce services rather than finance the Hernando Beach Dredging Project who serves the few rather than the riders who need public transportation. 

This project was ill conceived and has dragged on for over 6 years with no County oversight. Mr. Russell indicated he was a General Contractor for 28 years when referring to the comment someone should provide strong oversight to the Dredge Project to get the job done. Where has he been the last 6 years? Commissioner Russell committed us to this project when he was State Representative over 6 years ago when he lobbied for State matching Funds. Since than costs have been underestimated and a final cost still unknown and those who were paid to guide the county have been exonerated from mismanaging this project with the county assuming the lead role. Commissioner Russell is now off the hook now compliments of our County Administrator Hamilton and the new commissioners are now responsible for this project.

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