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City Of Clarksville is Floundering after Almost Two Years

 

Written by Kaye Jones

Clarksville City Council - Ward 11Clarksville, TN – As the current leadership in the City of Clarksville approaches two years in office, I am very concerned about the direction and progress of our city.

The current leadership has presented two city budgets where money from other funds had to be transferred into the general fund to have what has been described by the Clarksville Mayor as a balanced budget. In most homes in our city when you must transfer money out of your savings account to pay the general expenses of your household, we do not call that a balanced budget.

After the first budget was presented in 2011, half of the City Council voted against this budget. The six City Councilmen that voted against the budget understood it was not a budget that fit into the economic times of our city, state or nation. This budget only passed after the Mayor voted to break a tie and pass her budget.

In September 2011 members of City Council learned that the mayor had quietly notified City Department Heads to look at their department budgets and  come up with a 5% reduction in the current budget. When the Mayor was questioned by the Councilmen that voted against the budget she stated she was responding to anticipated cuts to funds at both state and federal levels.

At the time this budget passed with the Mayor voting to break a tie to pass her budget, our country was already in a serious financial crisis. It would have been a responsible leadership decision on the part of the Mayor to present a conservative budget to council with a disclaimer that if revenues remain the same or increased we can go back and amend the budget.

The following is part of an email I sent the Mayor in September 2011:

“In the business world and the City of Clarksville is a business, they develop long term (3 to 5 years) budget plans that is base on their long term business plan. As a city we have not had the opportunity to see your long term budget plan that ties into your long term business and capital project plan for the city.  It appears we have a one year financial plan that had to be grossly adjusted, and I am not sure where that leaves us for next three years since we don’t have a long term financial or business plan for the city.”

During the City Council Meetings on the 2012 Budget I once again voiced my concern after we once transferred money into our General Fund and called it a balanced budget. A motion was Made to take a 2% across the board reduction in the budget so we could pass a real balanced budget. This motion was voted down and once again, half our City Council voted against the budget. For the second year, the city budget only passed after the Mayor voted to break the tie and pass her budget.

Not once in the two years I have been in office has the Mayor ever called for a public council meeting to plan a long term budget, projects or for the future of our city. I would personally dedicate any time necessary for the Mayor and Council to meet and work together as one team to plan long term budgets, projects and for the future of our city.

The Webster Dictionary defines Planning as the establishment of goals, policies and procedures for a social or economic unit (City or Business). Just think about what could happen if the Mayor and Council were engaged as a team working together in planning the growth, development and future of our city.

We often hear we want to make Clarksville a great place to “Live, Work, and Play” but in order to do this, three things must happen:

  • First ,we must understand there is no I in Team and the Mayor must stop working as the I.
  • Second of all, the Mayor should have long term Budget, Project and development meetings with the council to start forging the Future of Clarksville Together as a Team.
  • Third, the City Leadership can not take it personal when a member of City Council questions or disagrees with programs, policies, procedures and/or any business that comes before this city, because we were elected to represent the interest of the citizens of our city.

On Friday, September 28th, 2012, I again sent Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan an email asking for the same two things, a meeting of the full Council to plan for the future of Clarksville, and to plan a 3-5 year budget for the future. Again, my email has went unacknowledged, as the previous 2 emails I have sent over the last 22 months.

Clarksville is my home and I truly want to see the Leadership in our city working together with City Council to make this the best place in the world to Live, Work and Play.

Kaye Jones


Editor’s Note: This article contains the view points of Councilwoman Kaye Jones and may not represent the views of the rest of the City Council, the City of Clarksville or ClarksvilleOnline.


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