Laws dictate funding use


In response to Kim Lawrence’s letter of April 26, one has to ask what budget committee she is on. The city of Sweet Home’s budget has one General Fund, per Oregon Local Budget laws. There are other funds, but they are dedicated funds, in which the revenue received can only be used for specific purposes. Gas tax revenue can only be used to repair and maintain streets. Water and wastewater revenue can only be used to operate the utilities.

For the record, Lawrence was appointed to the Sweet Home Budget Committee in February 2005. She has attended one year of budget committee meetings and received training in Oregon’s budget laws and how they are applied to the city’s budget. So, after receiving the training and attending meetings, I don’t know where she is getting the idea that the city has “quite a few General Funds.”

Regarding the aerial photos the city purchased, Lawrence was at the City Council meeting when this purchase was discussed. As stated in the written staff request and verbally during the meeting, the purchase was made from the Project and Equipment Reserve Fund. This is a fund that all departments save money in for future purchases of services, projects and equipment, per Oregon budget law.

I don’t know why Lawrence would say the purchase was made from a “public works general fund” when she was at the meeting and as a member of city’s Budget Committee, she knows there is no such fund.

And why she would tell voters to vote no for the only funding the city has to operate its police and library services, when as a member of the city’s Budget Committee, Lawrence knows that the city cannot divert dedicated funds from their specific purpose to pay for police and library services.

The city of Sweet Home has not only received awards for the effectiveness of communicating its budget to the public, but also praise from a former D-H reporter for being able to produce a document that is easy to follow and simple to understand.

Despite all of my effort to help Kim Lawrence understand the City of Sweet Home’s budget, I have either failed or, Lawrence, by choice, prefers to report inaccurate information in her letters.

Pat Gray

City Finance Director

Sweet Home