The City Council unanimously approved spending $100,000 on a “Mobile City Hall” during Tuesday night’s meeting.
According to the staff report from Tuesday’s meeting, there is “no impact to the City’s General Fund or to any other unrestricted fund” from purchasing the Mobile City Hall.
This is not to debate the merits (or demerits) of a Mobile City Hall. Opining is not my role here. But the staff report’s description of the funding source for the Mobile City Hall is cloudy at best.
As reported by The Record on May 25, 2015, a $100,000 allocation for a Mobile City Hall was included in the 2015-16 general fund budget. The city had just emerged from bankruptcy a couple of months earlier. Before the budget passed, The Record reported:
(City Manager Kurt) Wilson has suggested $100,000 for a “Mobile City Hall” — a recreational vehicle that could travel periodically with city staff to neighborhoods and businesses. The Mobile City Hall, Wilson said, would provide opportunities to help residents apply for jobs or process forms.
And it would provide a modest service increase for a city still struggling to provide for its residents in the early days of its post-bankruptcy era.
“We’re a large city,” Wilson said. “The idea is that we can go to the outskirts, places that don’t feel like they get enough attention, and maybe under that scenario we can take City Hall to them.
“It’s not going to change the world, but it’ll help us to reach people we wouldn’t normally reach. We fully acknowledge that the service level is not as high as we want it to be.”
The $100,000 was not spent during the 2015-16 fiscal year. Instead, it was carried over to this fiscal year’s budget. Tuesday’s vote was to finally spend the money to purchase that “Mobile City Hall” — with general fund dollars.