Monopoly Money 

City officials find fat in the budget

City officials find fat in the budget

Declaring his fact-finding budget hearings with city department heads last week an unqualified success, Mayor Bill Purcell says his first attempt to understand city finances uncovered waste that should have been identified long ago.

Not all of that wasteful spending, though, is so weighty that Purcell can’t laugh about it. Some of it has provided fodder for the mayor, who has a fondness—and a knack—for telling stories that often make punch lines out of the city bureaucracy.

In a meeting with key Metro Council members this week, for example, Purcell noted Metro Fire Chief Buck Dozier’s suggestion for saving the government $66,000 a year. The department simply wouldn’t make its monthly $5,500 contribution to the city of Goodlettsville, he told Purcell last week.

The mayor asked him why the fire department was making the contribution in the first place. ”We don’t need to do it anymore,“ Dozier responded. ”But why did you ever,“ Purcell wanted to know.

Purcell told Council members that Dozier didn’t really know why his department was paying out the cash. As Purcell relayed the story, Council member Bettye Balthrop piped up. ”Well, I’m the one who found it for him,“ she said. ”He didn’t know he was paying it.“

There has been other unnecessary spending as well. For 20 years, Metro workers have been mowing the grass along Briley Parkway, a state road, at a current cost of about $75,000 a year. The best anyone can recollect is that state and city officials agreed two decades ago that they would swap services to make the deal fair. But no one now can figure out what the city got out of it.

Metro won’t be mowing there anymore.

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