March 26, 2014 —
“The statutory language does not specify whether the funds must be transferred by ordinance or may be transferred by executive municipal order,” said Willis in the opinion. “I contacted the staff attorney at the Kentucky League of Cities and he advised that any time the budget is amended it must be done by Council approval.”
The opinion continued:
“He stated that, in the past, cities have transferred funds by executive order to the
general treasury but the preferred method is transferring those funds directly from said utility by ordinance since disbursement requires approval by Council.”
“I see no clear prohibition on transferring the funds directly to general treasury,” he concluded.
“All ordinances must come from the Council and the city's purse strings are controlled by Council, not the mayor,” said Meade.
“Council must approve all financial transfers. If any action is taken by the mayor to transfer any funds, we respectfully request immediate notification and the appropriate legal action will follow.”
Fankell originally sought Council approval for the transfer in the form of a budget amendment at last month’s meeting. He called for a $60,000 transfer from the utility fund to the general fund.
Fankell explained that the transfer was intended to cover a shortfall in the street department and to replace funds previously cut from the budget.
Meade, along with council members Randy Tackett and Enoch Hicks, opposed the transfer because they felt the mayor had abused his spending authority by failing to follow the budget that Council had previously approved.
A Council meeting scheduled for last night was not held due to the lack of a quorum.
In his e-mail exchange with Owens, however, Meade expressed a differing opinion on the issue.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.