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Three days to finalize City of Langdon budget for 2016

The Langdon City Commission spent three days attempting to finalize the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Posted on 10/10/15

By Melissa Anderson

The amount of time spent trying to finalize the budget was a result of numerous mistakes on the budget by Langdon City Auditor Connie Schrader.

The commission spent two evenings going over the budget with Schrader. The first evening, the commission spent 45 minutes pointing out mistakes on just the fire department’s budget.

Commissioner Lawrence Henry stated that he spent over a half an hour reviewing the budget the night prior to the meeting and had found numerous mistakes.

“I only found my [department] mistakes and had enough at that point,” Henry stated during the meeting.

Many of the mistakes that Henry found were incorrect figures, missing figures, misplaced figures, or 2014 figures for the 2016 budget.

When asked why some figures were missing by Henry,  Schrader responded that it was due to a law change. Henry corrected her and said that the law did not take effect until 2025 and that those numbers should be in the budget.

The first evening meeting closed with frustrations being vented by the commissioners.

“Why does it have to be at the last minute?,” Commissioner Jim Rademacher said.

“Right now I feel like a failure representing the people that voted me in,” Commissioner Marty Tetrault stated.

The follow evening was much like the first as the commissioners peered over Schrader’s mistake ridden budget.

Schrader had corrected much of the issues that had been pointed out by Henry the previous meeting, but a few still had figures from 2014.

Tetrault found issues within his department’s figures as Schrader had reduced the amount for insurance coverage when it should have actually increased. Schrader had no explanation for the decrease as there were the same number of employees as the year previous and said that she would look into. Tetrault requested that she re-do the calculation during the meeting.

Rademacher’s department had similar problems with his figures regarding insurance as well. The issue was with the number being too high even though there was a decrease in staff numbers.

As the commission reviewed the entire budget and department expenses, more mistakes with needed corrections were found including the activity center and compensation rates.

Rademacher had brought in his finalized copy of the budget from 2015 to compare to the budget figures presented. None of the figures from the finalized copy matched the same year figures on the proposed budget.

This hour and half meeting ended much like the night before. With little time left, Schrader had the rest of the night and the next morning to make the corrections that were cited as being needed by Wednesday, October 7, in the early afternoon as the budget would have to be turned into the Cavalier County Auditor’s office if the city was to receive the funding needed to run for another year.

The commissioners were able to have enough members present for quarum on Wednesday afternoon to approve the final budget as presented by Schrader.

While there were still some small mistakes, the commissioners present felt that the budget could be approved and taken to the county.

“I don’t like how we got to where we are at. Here we are at the last day pressing for time. We need to fix that and not do it anymore. We have the money  available to run the city for another year. We have problems we need to fix,” Rademacher said before moving to finalize the budget.

Following the approval of the budget, Schrader had this to say on why it took so long to finalize the budget, “It was just that there were mistakes and in order to be approved, it has to be precise. There were a few things I left off that I shouldn’t have. It was just mistakes. There are a lot of pages and your eyes get buggy after awhile.” Schrader also said that she is having issues operating the program that completes the budget.