The Green City Council voted 4-3 against creating a fund to aid safety forces during economic downturns.
The budget stabilization fund would have allowed for 20 percent of the city's unencumbered revenue annually to be directed to a rainy day fund that could be tapped if the city experienced a 10 percent drop in revenue. If no drop occurred, the money would have been redirected to the general fund.
Council members Stephen Dyer, Matt Shaughnessy and Justin Speight voted for the bill Tuesday. Chris Humphrey, Barbara Babbitt, Council President Bob Young and Rocco Yeargin voted no.
During a discussion before the vote, Dyer said: "The legislation restricts the use of this set-aside and ties it to loss in revenue. If our level goes down more than 10 percent, this gives us a cushion to guarantee the same level of safety services that we have.”
He also said: “If you took this legislation and gave it to another city, they would pass it unanimously. I fear that politics has [crept] into this.”
“If I thought there was a need for this legislation and I thought it was a good idea for the community, I’d vote for it," he said. "The city has a six-month reserve and we don’t need an additional piece of legislation that essentially does the same thing."
At the April 9 meeting, Shaughnessy asked Humphrey if he would recuse himself from voting on the fund because Humphrey is employed by UBS Financial Services, which handles some of the city's investments.
Humphrey sought an opinion from interim law director William Chris on whether the recusal was necessary. Chris told Humphrey on Tuesday that he could find no reason for Humphrey's recusal based on Ohio ethics laws.
Chris said Humphrey’s UBS association was through its private investment division while the funds transfer was done through UBS’s public investment division. He added that Humphrey has no financial interest in the public division.
Some council members also questioned whether Finance Director Steven Schmidt acted properly late last year when he transferred $20 million in city bond investments from Morgan Stanley Investment Banking to UBS without notifying the council.
On Tuesday, Humphrey asked Chris to prepare legislation to notify all council members before city funds are moved.
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