The Petition is Filed

Word from City Hall is that Melanie Fiferlick filed a petition for referendum today with 48 signatures on it. The petition, if valid, would force the City to hold an election on a line item veto of the Daycare budget for 2007. If passed the referendum would, according to City staff, close the Montrose Community Daycare as we know it, effective January 1, 2007. The City would no longer be able to accept revenue or pay any expenses, and all 8 employees would lose their jobs as of that date.

There is a regular City Council meeting tonight at 7pm. Pat Waechter is on the agenda to ask questions about the daycare, and Carol Flickinger (City Finance Officer) will discuss the petition during her report.

I am working now to update the impact numbers as of Sept. 30. The Daycare has cost the City a net of $618 for this year so far. For the month of September, the Daycare has a net income of $1041.

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5 comments so far

  1. Nancy on

    I really think that the City staff is mistaken about the daycare closing on January 1,2007 if the referendum passes. At least that is not how I understand it. Melanie checked with the state and sought legal council to help write the petition. The way I understand it is, that if at any time during the course of 2007, the daycare runs short of funds, the City can’t contribute any money above and beyond what is budgeted for the year.
    I think everyone should sit back and take a deep breath. Calm yourself. I don’t mean to minimalize the seriousness of the situation, but some of these posts are a little alarming and unnecessarily so. I guess I have been reading and reading and not writing. I feel like some of your information, numbers, etc. are skewed, presented in a one sided picture. I have made an effort to fully inform myself and take into consideration both views. I hate to say it, but I feel like a lot of the content of this blog is just problem, problem people, problem numbers, problem problem. I wise man once told me, “Come to me with your solutions, not your problems.”

  2. joe bart on

    This blog has been very one-sided so far, and I think I’ve been very clear about my position from day one. I’ve also been pretty clear that I encourage (and really want) more healthy discussion to take place here. I welcome opinions different from my own, and I thank Nancy for posting hers.

    There is a popular misconception going around that I think is important to understand: the Daycare is not a separate entity from the City. It never has been since moving into the new building some years ago. The City does not contribute dollars to the daycare when it falls short. The Daycare IS the City. It is fully, 100% owned by you and me and all the other taxpayers in our City. Every dollar that is taken in by the Daycare goes directly into the City’s general fund, and every dollar spent in the Daycare comes out of the City’s general fund.

    And so, according to our City’s Attorney, eliminating the Daycare line item from the City’s budget (which is what the referendum would do if passed) would mean the City would no longer be allowed to accept payments or pay bills for its daycare. This would close the doors and end the Montrose Community Daycare as we know it. Melanie has told me and many others numerous times that she is not trying to close the daycare, just make it break even. I believe her. And if that was all her referendum would do, I don’t think I or anybody else would be making a big deal of this. But intent and result wouldn’t be the same here. If the City cannot pay bills for its own daycare, then it cannot operate one.

    Thanks again for your comments Nancy.

  3. joe bart on

    Here is a direct quote from City Hall on wether or not the referendum would close the daycare:

    “I have verified with both Jerry Lammers, the City Attorney and Deene Dayton, State of South Dakota Legislative Audit, that, if there is an election and the vote is to strike the line item in the 2007 Budget Ordinance that pays expenses for the Daycare, that NO checks or expenditures can be made for the Daycare effective January 1, 2007. It has nothing to do with any income from the Daycare. All income goes into the City General Fund. All expenses are paid from the City General Fund. No payments for the Daycare would be allowed. The Daycare would close at the close of business on December 31, 2006.”

  4. nancy on

    Joe, “Just what do you think my opinion is?”, because I’m not sure I’ve formed one yet. I’m trying to bring up points and questions that haven’t been touched on.
    I get what your saying, “the daycare is the city, general fund…” I guess my way of saying it is that the daycare is a department of the city like sewer and water or the street department. Each department has a budgeted amount for 2007. If for some reason expenses are more than is what is budgeted for that dept., money is taken out of the general fund and moved to that dept. (not without proper ordinances or whatever council action is needed of course)
    Yes, the City does contribute money to the daycare when it falls short, its called over-budget and is corrected by the process I just mentioned. It is using money above and beyond what has previously been budgeted for that department.

  5. joe bart on

    Nancy, I was referring to your opinion about the daycare closing as a result of the referrendum. If the petitioner’s intent was to merely require a balanced budget line for the daycare, that would be great. But that isn’t what this referrendum would do. That’s all I’m trying to make clear here.

    A successful referendum, eliminating the Daycare line item in the City’s budget, would prevent the City from operating the daycare at all.


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